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

Spencer Madsen

We make a big deal about energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have the hard data to back up our claims. With the help of some independent research, we can chart the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Boise, from drapes 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 window coverings, has an R-value. That number lets you know how effective it is at stopping thermal energy from moving through it. A bigger r-value means a better insulator.

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So what difference can the r-value of a window treatment make? Simply put, a more energy efficient window treatment lets you keep your house at the temperature you want. 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 necessary for your windows, because they’re a likely culprit for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Not every window treatment offers the same benefits, 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 look at the chart shows you a few 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 can 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 can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several engineered layers designed to block heat, are able to put a stop to temperature flow a lot better than pleated shades.

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The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a solid-body faux wood polymer, are able to keep out heat a lot more effectively than wood 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, giving them that best in class r-value of 6 or more.

Bring Some Value Into Your Home

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