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

Charlie Cole and Brady Parker

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. That’s because we have the hard numbers to back it up. 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 going through it. A bigger r-value indicates a better insulator.

honeycomb shades in Fort Myers home 

So what difference does the r-value of a window covering make? Basically, a more effective insulator lets you keep your house at the temperature you want. 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 crucial for your windows, because they’re a likely reason for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Not every window treatment offers the same benefits, at least not when it comes to energy efficiency. Though there’s some variation based on the material and construction between different manufacturers and makes, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Covering

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 study of 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 insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value could make for a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you dial up your air conditioning and lose money.

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 energy flow much better than pleated shades.

faux wood shutters in Fort Myers sunroom 

Likewise, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a solid-body faux wood compound, can repel heat a heap better 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, fit 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.

Bring Some Value Into Your Home

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