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

June 13, 2017

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. That’s because we have proof to back up our claims. With the help of some scientific research, we’ve been able to directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window treatments in Fort Myers, from shades to drapes to shutters.

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

Everything in your house that separates the inside from the outside, from the roof to your windows, has an R-value. That value lets you know how good it is at preventing thermal energy from moving through it. A bigger r-value indicates a better insulator.

white shades in Fort Myers space 

So what difference does the r-value of a window covering make? Simply put, a more energy efficient window treatment lets you keep your house at your preferred temperature. No matter if you want to keep in the heat during the winter or want to stay cool in summer, good insulation is crucial to that effort. That’s extra necessary for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout the entire house.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not when it comes to energy efficiency. Though there’s some variation based on the material and thickness between different manufacturers and makes, below is what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Type of Window Treatment

Average R-Value

Window alone


Mini blinds


Pleated shades




Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from and HouseLogic.

A quick look at the table tells you a number of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is that some window treatments offer almost no benefit at all (ahem, blinds), while others are energy-efficient beasts. That big gap in R-value could make for a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether or not you turn on the air conditioning.

You might also notice the fact that the material of your window treatment can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several insulating layers designed to trap heat, are able to block temperature flow much better than pleated shades.

faux wood shutters in Fort Myers living room 

Likewise, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a solid-body faux wood compound, can repel heat a lot more effectively than wood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with natural gaps and holes that let heat flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with strict weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, giving them that top of the line r-value of more than 6.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The data doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your house can be. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a little cozier? We can help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters Fort Myers by calling 239-208-6577, or fill out our free appointment request form below.