Kolbe, Eagle, LoE options for SHGC?

dljmthMarch 22, 2012

I am shopping for windows (some new, some replacement) for primarily South-facing windows and a few East windows. We are in a temperate climate in the SF Bay area - 55F/35F in Winter and 60F/77F in Summer. Given all the posting and research on various forums (especially this link:


thanks oberon!), and our architects rec, we think we should be looking at windows with a higher SHGC as we are primarily a "heating climate". There are some summer days when we bake from the heat, but they are few. Plus the architect has designed overhangs for some of the sunnier spots.

I have looked at Marvin, Loewen, Kolbe, Eagle and Jeldwen just to get an initial baseline. They all use Cardinal glass and in fact they all offer as their standard LoE-272 EXCEPT Kolbe which uses LoE-270 (anyone know why?). I've ruled out Marvin (not in our budget). So that leaves Loewen, Kolbe, Eagle and Jeldwen. Here is what I was able to gather from their quotes for a baseline/sample window. I have to go back and ask for which of these companies offer the Cardinal LoE-180 option, but this is my place to start (and some of our East windows will use standard anyway).

Casement 36" x 48" Aluminum Clad, wood interior, Double Pane/Argon fill

Kolbe (270) U=0.35, SHGC=0.25, VT=0.46

Eagle (272) U=0.30, SHGC=0.29, VT=0.49

Jeldwen (272) U=0.33, SHGC=0.26, VT=0.48

I'm still waiting for Loewen's official numbers based on my quote, but I'm guessing they will probably be a little better all around based on what I could see as a very high quality window.

Price-wise from most to least expensive it's:





So, for the price/value it seems like Eagle might be a good choice for us. Has anyone had experience with Eagle either good/bad? Any thoughts on their new Aluminum clad casements with the Fibrex thermal barrier? (I'm guessing that is how they get the better Uvalue??)

I actually liked the aesthetics of the Kolbe window more than Eagle, but their numbers aren't as good. I also really liked the Loewen product as it feels so solid but that option might prove beyond our budget. Jeldwen's were OK, but I didn't quite feel as solid as Eagle or Kolbe so I'm really not considering them any longer.



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Glass and performance aside you are correct Eagle is NOT made as well as Kolbe. Loewen is dam near the same price if not a little more here on the east coast and for my money I would definitely go with either Marvin or Kolbe before Loewen. Jeldwen and eagle would not even be considered from my end. If budget was an issue I would rather wait a year or two and get the better product after putting away a few more sheckles. Kolbe should be able to give you the glass you want since the windows are all made to order as well!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Another vote for Kolbe.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:57AM
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    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:55AM
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Thanks for the comments! Kolbe windows do "feel" better, but my analytical engineering education keeps me looking at the numbers and wondering why the Kolbe's don't perform as well as the Eagle product. I need to call the rep and also ask why Kolbe standardized on 270 rather than 272 glass as the others. Perhaps that would make the difference and perhaps as millworkman says I can just request that glass at the same price. Marvins are beautiful, but it would mean eliminating the radiant/hydronic heat upgrade if we want to stay within the overall budget for this project. Trade offs...wish I could have it all! :)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Do you know what the NFRC -CPD number is?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 3:41PM
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For Kolbe: KKM-K-32-00047-00001. This was generated from the bid.

For Eagle, the bid generated a report as well, but it did not include the NFRC CPD number, only the ratings.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 4:33PM
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U-Factor = 0.35
SHGC = 0.25
VT = 0.46

Here is a link that might be useful: NFRC data on above window

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:25PM
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I'm kind of surprised the U-factor is that high considering they are using 270 glass. It's not so high that it should prevent you from getting that window if you like everything else. A Lexus doesn't get the best gas mileage as some other vehicles either.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Yes, the numbers are disappointing. It's like choosing between a Euro sports car and a Prius. One "feels" solid and well built, while the other has much better mileage performance and is economical. Tough call.

I'd like to know why people think more highly of Kolbe than of Eagle. Why is Eagle considered a second tier?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Epiarch Designs

I know this is a little late, but Eagle has redesigned their window and is using the Andersen Fibrex product as part of their new frame design. This allows a complete thermal break between the aluminum and the wood interior, also adds a non wood sill where water is an issue. They also adjusted where the weatherstrip is in relation to the sash for a tighter seal.
I have yet to see a Kolbe in person (hopefully will soon-rep is suppose to be bringing my a sample), but have seen many Marvins and Eagles. I agree, the Marvin is a beefier window and fit and finish is slightly better. However the Eagle is cheaper, with now a better performance then the Marvin. Even though it is not "as good" as the Marvin, it still a good window. My personal experience with Eagle differs from some on the forum here. I would have no problem installing Eagles in my home. (infact I might)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 4:29PM
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I think the Eagle is a nice window and has an amazing amount of exterior coor choices.The extruded exterior casings are very nice as well.The one thing that bothers me is the internal glazing bead, just never cared for the look of them.I would have no problem installing them in my home either.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 1:18AM
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I am a new forum member here and is in the final stages of picking a window manufacturer. We have narrowed our search down to Marvin vs Kolbe. Having read many of the online post installation reviews, I have seen many negative Kolbe reviews re: quality after a few years and warranty difficulties in dealing with the manufacturer or reseller.

We are picking the aluminum clad windows for the house with folding doors out to the back yard. We had favored the Kolbe quote over Marvin as it seemed to have better pricing and look. But now I am a bit scared as even on trying to find any positive post installation/usage reviews of Kolbe, I haven't found any. If any one could give me some feedback on their experiences on Kolbe or Marvin, I would truly appreciate it!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Millworkman knows wood as good as anyone on this board and Kolbe and Marvin are two of his favorites.

From what I have seen of Kolbe (we haven't hung any before), they appear to be very well made and solid all around.

I can't share any personal experience but I think if you keep searching, you should find some personal accounts or call your vendor and ask them for some reference.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:42AM
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Epiarch Designs

we just installed Kolbe in my new home. It is still under construction, however they have been in for a few months now. Trust me, Kolbe can do ANYTHING you want with the glass. My order was very demanding on the glass and my rep did a fantastic job working with me on getting things exactly as I wanted them. All of the windows are their tri pane glazing EP line. There were not any cost differences between the hardcoats but changing from a softcoat to a hardcoat there were some slight upcharges.
I have installed a few different window brands including Andersen 400s, Marvin Integrity (never the Premium), Eagle, and Pella. The Kolbe were the easiest of them all to install. They are very rigid and strong. They did not flex at all. Nail flange was nice and straight and sat nicely into the framed opening. They were all exactly the RO size indicated. I have a very large and super heavy 8'x7' 8' window that is mulled in the center. There are 2 large 4x4 pictures and awnings below, so a horizontal mull as well. It took 4 guys to get it into the opening, but the entire time we were struggling it never flexed once. I was very impressed. I could see the frame around the window was LVL wood and not pine or fir. They also use that in the doors, which I got a custom front door from them as well as the patio door.
I will say they actually sent half of the windows with the wrong glass installed, but a simple call to them and they were on it to change the glass out, no questions asked.
you can check them out in my blog for more info and pictures of the windows. I would highly recommend them based on the other ones I have also installed. Interestingly enough, this thread is older and you see my post about Eagles above. Kolbe came recommended by members on this forum so I got involved with my rep and I am glad I did. While I still believe the new Eagle is still a good window, it is still a step down from my Kolbes. Time will tell how they last, but the future appears promising.

Here is a link that might be useful: home building blog

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Why would you consider Low E 270 or 272. Cardinal offers Low E 366 with much better numbers.

Want to correct you on your Kolbe info with Low E 270:

Kolbe 3/0 4/0 W/Low E 270

U=0.33, SHGC=0.25, VT=0.46

Kolbe 3/0 4/0 W/ Low E 366

U=0.33, SHGC=0.19, VT=0.42

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Why is Low-e 366 more appropriate in the original posters application?

While we think of California as a definite cooling climate, San Fransisco is nearly 5:1 heating to cooling degree days.

Going with the more passive solar allowing Low-e 272 on the South facing windows will ultimate be more efficient over the life of the windows in this comparison by allowing more of the Sun's radiant energy to enter and heat the home.

Here is a link that might be useful: San Francisco Weather Data

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:37AM
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