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

Lisa Renee Nieberding

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy-efficient window treatments. That’s because we have proof for our claims. With the help of some objective research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window treatments in Cincinnati, from blinds to drapes 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 larger r-value means a better insulator.

white shades in Cincinnati home 

So what difference does the r-value of a window covering make? Basically, a better insulator makes it easier to keep your house at the temperature you want. 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 extra important for your windows, because they’re a big culprit for energy loss in your home.

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 thickness between different vendors and makes, here’s what you can expect to find when comparing window treatments.

Window Treatment

Average R-Value

Window alone








Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from Energy.gov and HouseLogic.

A short study of 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 (ahem, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That difference in R-value can mean a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether or not you crank up your air conditioning.

The second is that the material of your window treatment makes a big difference. Honeycomb shades, designed with multiple insulating layers designed to block heat, are able to put a stop to energy flow a lot more effectively than pleated shades.

faux wood shutters in Cincinnati sunroom 

The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood polymer, can block 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 seamless 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 numbers don’t lie. Your window treatments play a big part in how comfortable your home can be. Think your home could 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.