R-Values of Shutters: Compare Energy Efficiency of Window Treatments

Holly Perron

We make a big deal about energy efficiency in window treatments. That’s because we have the hard numbers to back us up. With the help of some outside research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in Philadelphia, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

What’s An R-Value And Why Does It Matter For Window Coverings?

Everything in your home that separates indoors from outdoors, from the walls to your window treatments, has an R-value. That number indicates how good it is at blocking heat from passing through it. A bigger r-value indicates a more effective insulator.

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So what difference can the r-value of a window treatment make? Basically, a more effective insulator lets you keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep your home cool during the summer months, you need good insulation. That’s even more crucial for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout your whole home.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not when it comes to insulation. Though there can be some difference based on the material and build between different companies and models, below is what you can expect to find when comparing window treatments.

Type of Window Covering

Average R-Value

No window treatment








Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic & Energy.gov.

A quick look at the chart shows you a number of things. The first is the fact that a few certain window treatments barely give you any benefit at all (ahem, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That difference in R-value might make for a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether or not you crank up the air conditioning.

You might also notice the fact that the material of your window treatment can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several insulating layers designed to block heat, are able to block heat flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

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The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood compound, are able to keep out heat a lot more effectively than hardwood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with random gaps and holes that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, combined with seamless weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when shut, which is why they have that top of the line r-value of more than 6.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window coverings play a big part in how comfortable your space is. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a bit more comfortable? We’ll help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Philadelphia by calling 215-874-4897, or fill out our free estimate request form below.