New Home WIndow Crisis
I thoroughly agree on double pane low-e glass with vinyl. You have mentioned just getting a bigger AC unit but with this also comes a bigger bill for cooling the house. As you mentioned this is not a small house! The prices vary on type of window, manufacturer and any extras but the cost for thermal pane will be considerably more than for single pane. In my opinion at this point you will save money over the long run even considering then re-fit costs by up-grading........Mark Hammond
I like low-e vinyl from an energy standpoint but they take some getting used to when looking out the window. The viewing difference is also very distinct. The fact that you are viewing filtered light is noticable.
If I did it again I don't think I would have gone low-e on all the windows. I think I would have just gone dual pane vinyl in the living room on this north facing house
BTW, you can't use the words budget and rush in the same sentence. Rush jobs cost more as do changes. This change will be worth it and your builder is not pulling your pants down. If anyone did you wrong, it was the architect in the first place. There is an energy code in this country from the Dept of Energy mandating certain standards in new homes. The only thing I would spec single glazed for is a barn or similar shelter, not a dwelling for human habitation.
I would not use anything but insulated glass with Low-E.
As others have posted, you will save money in the long run.
Whenever I have visited friends down south, I am amazed that they don't think that insulated glass will save them money!
Installation should be the same cost because they have the same nailfins.
The only thing that I'm not sure about would be the seal failure because of the heat. But, I really don't think that would be much of a problem.
Windows are never the place to skimp. Like other posters have said, it is one of the things that will cost you so much more to change later.