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

Richard Rampton

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. That’s because we have the hard numbers to back us up. With the help of some third party research, we’ve been able to map out the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Chicago, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

What’s An R-Value And Why What Does It Mean For Window Treatments?

Everything in your home that insulates, from the walls to your window coverings, has an R-value. That number indicates how good it is at stopping thermal energy from passing through it. A larger r-value indicates a more effective insulator.

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Why does the R-value of a window covering make any difference? Simply put, a better insulator makes it easier to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. No matter if you want to keep the heat inside at wintertime or keep the heat out during the summer months, good insulation is crucial to that effort. That’s even more crucial for your windows, as they’re one of the biggest areas of heat loss throughout your whole house.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

You don’t get the same benefits from every window treatment, at least not in energy efficiency. Though there’s some difference based on the material and construction between different vendors and models, this is what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Type of Window Treatment

Typical R-Value

Window alone








Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from HouseLogic & Energy.gov.

A quick glance at the table tells you a few things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that a few certain window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), whereas others are total workhorses in insulating. That difference in R-value could mean a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you flip the switch on your air conditioning and lose money.

You might also notice the fact that what the window treatment is made out of can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, designed with several insulating layers designed to trap heat, can put a stop to temperature flow much better than pleated shades.

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The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood polymer, are able to repel heat a lot more effectively than wood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with natural knots and holes that allow heat to flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, fit with seamless 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 part in how comfortable your space can be. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a little cozier? We’ll help. Get in touch with the team at Sunburst Shutters Chicago by calling 847-250-6544, or use our free estimate request form below.