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Plantation shutters in a traditional living room

Shutters and R-Values: Comparing Energy-Efficient Window Coverings

June 13, 2017

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have proof to back up our claims. With the help of some objective research, we can chart the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Boise, from shades to blinds to shutters.

What Is R-Value And Why What Does It Mean For Window Treatments?

Everything in your home that separates indoors from outdoors, from the roof to your windows, has an R-value. That number lets you know how effective it is at stopping thermal energy from going through it. A bigger r-value means a better insulator.

cellular shades in Boise space 

So what difference can the r-value of a window treatment make? Simply put, a more effective insulator lets you keep your home at your preferred temperature. No matter if you want to keep the heat inside during the winter or keep your home cool in summer, you’re going to need effective insulation. That’s especially crucial for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout the whole home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Every window treatment is not made equal, at least not when it comes to insulation. Though there can be some difference due to the material and build between different companies and models, this is what you can expect to find when comparing window treatments.

Type of Window Covering

Average R-Value

Window alone




Pleated shades




Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from and HouseLogic.

A quick study of the chart shows you a number of things. The first is that some window coverings offer almost no benefit at all (we’re talking about you, blinds), while 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 your air conditioning.

You might also notice the fact that the material of your window treatment makes a big difference. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several engineered layers designed to block heat, are able to block temperature flow a lot better than pleated shades.

Polywood shutters in Boise great room 

Similarly, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a solid-body faux wood polymer, are able to block heat a heap better than hardwood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be cavernous, with natural gaps and holes that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, combined with strict weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, which is why they have that best in class r-value of 6 or more.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The data doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your house can be. Could your home be a little cozier? We’ll help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Boise by calling 208-609-9129, or use our free estimate request form below.