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R-Values of Shutters: Comparing Energy Efficiency of Window Coverings

June 13, 2017

We’re big talkers on the subject of energy-efficient window treatments. But that’s because we have the hard numbers to back us up. With the help of some objective research, we’ve been able to chart the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in Houston, from drapes to blinds to shutters.

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

Everything in your house that separates the inside from the outside, from the walls to your window coverings, has an R-value. That value tells you how effective it is at stopping thermal energy from going through it. A larger r-value means a more effective insulator.

white shades in Houston house 

So what difference does the r-value of a window treatment make? Simply put, a better insulator lets you keep your space at a comfortable temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep the heat out during the summer months, good insulation is crucial to that effort. That’s even more necessary for your windows, because they’re a big culprit for energy loss in your home.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not in energy efficiency. Though there’s some difference based on the material and build between different companies and models, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window treatments.

Type of Window Treatment

Average R-Value

No window treatment


Mini blinds


Pleated shades




Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A quick study of the chart shows you a number of things. The first is the fact that a few certain window coverings offer almost no benefit at all (ahem, blinds), whereas others are total workhorses in insulating. That difference in R-value can result in a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether you flip the switch on your air conditioning and waste money.

Something else you might notice is that the material of your window treatment is a big deal. Honeycomb shades, which are made with multiple engineered layers designed to block heat, are able to put a stop to energy flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

plantation shutters in Houston living room 

The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a solid-body faux wood polymer, can block heat a lot more effectively than wood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with natural gaps and holes that allow heat to move easily. Polywood shutters, combined with seamless weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when shut, giving them that top of the line r-value of more than 6.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your space can be. Could your home be a little cozier? We can help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters Houston by calling 713-853-9629, or fill out our free appointment request form below.