Plantation shutters in a traditional living room

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

June 13, 2017

We make a big deal about energy-efficient window treatments. That’s because we have the hard numbers to back it up. With the help of some independent research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window treatments in Cincinnati, from blinds to shades to shutters.

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

Everything in your home that separates the inside from the outside, from the walls to your window treatments, has an R-value. That value tells you how good it is at stopping thermal energy from moving through it. A higher r-value indicates a better insulator.

white shades in Cincinnati home 

Why does the R-value of a window covering make any difference? Basically, a better insulator makes it easier to keep your house at your preferred temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat at wintertime or keep the heat out in summer, good insulation is crucial to that effort. That’s especially important for your windows, as they’re one of the most common areas of heat loss throughout the entire house.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

You don’t get the same benefits from every window treatment, at least not in energy efficiency. Though there’s some variation based on the material and construction between different vendors and makes, here’s what you can expect to find when comparing window treatments.

Window Treatment

Average R-Value

Window alone

0.75-1

Blinds

1.5-2

Shades

2.5

Drapes

2-3

Hardwood Shutters

3-4

Honeycomb shades

4.5

Polywood plantation shutters

>6

R-values from Energy.gov and HouseLogic.

A short look at the table tells you a couple of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that a few certain window treatments offer almost no benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That difference in R-value might result in a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether or not you crank up your air conditioning.

Something else you might notice is that the material of your window treatment makes a big difference. Honeycomb shades, designed with multiple insulating layers designed to repel heat, are able to put a stop to energy flow a lot more effectively than pleated shades.

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The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood polymer, can keep out heat a to a much greater degree than natural wood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with random holes and gaps that allow heat to move easily. Polywood shutters, combined with strict weatherstripping, build a solid seal on your window when shut, giving them that best in class r-value of more than 6.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big part in how comfortable your home can be. Could your home be a bit cozier? We’ll help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Cincinnati by calling 513-216-9740, or use our free consultation request form below.

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