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

June 13, 2017

We’re big talkers on the subject of energy-efficient window treatments. That’s because we’ve got proof for our claims. With the help of some outside research, we can map out the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in Seattle, from shades to drapes to shutters.

What’s An 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 number tells you how good it is at preventing heat from going through it. A larger r-value means a better insulator.

honeycomb shades in Seattle house 

So what difference can the r-value of a window treatment make? Well, a better insulator lets you keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat at wintertime or want to stay cool during the summer months, great insulation is a requirement. That’s especially necessary for your windows, because they’re a big reason 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 can be some difference due to the material and construction between different vendors and makes, below is what you can expect to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Treatment

Typical R-Value

No window treatment


Mini blinds






Wood Shutters


Cellular shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A short study of the table shows you a number of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that some window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), while others are insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value could make for a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether or not you turn on the AC.

You might also notice the fact that what the window treatment is made out of can have a big impact. Cellular shades, designed with several engineered layers designed to block heat, are able to put a stop to heat flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

Polywood shutters in Seattle great room 

Similarly, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood polymer, are able to repel heat a lot more effectively than hardwood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with random gaps and holes that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with strict weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when closed, which is the reason for their best in class r-value of 6 and up.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The numbers don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big role in how comfortable your house can be. Think your home could be a little cozier? We’ll help. Get in touch with the team at Sunburst Shutters Washington by calling 360-464-2277, or fill out our free appointment request form below.