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

Nate Gromen

We’re big talkers on the subject of energy-efficient window treatments. But that’s because we have the hard data to back us up. With the help of some objective research, we’ve been able to map out the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Cleveland, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

What’s An R-Value And Why What Does It Mean For Window Coverings?

Everything in your home that separates indoors from outdoors, from the walls to your windows, has an R-value. That number indicates how effective it is at preventing thermal energy from passing through it. A higher r-value corresponds to a more effective insulator.

white shades in Cleveland home 

So what difference does the r-value of a window covering make? Well, a more energy efficient window treatment lets you keep your space at your preferred temperature. Whether 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 even more crucial for your windows, because they’re a likely culprit for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Every window treatment is not made equal, at least not when it comes to insulation. Though there can be some variation based on the material and thickness between different manufacturers and makes, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Covering

Typical R-Value

Window alone


Mini blinds






Hardwood Shutters


Cellular shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from Energy.gov and HouseLogic.

A quick look at the chart shows you a number of things. The first is the fact that some window coverings barely give you any benefit at all (looking at you, blinds), while others are energy-efficient beasts. That difference 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 spend more money.

Something else you might notice is that what the window treatment is made out of is a big deal. Cellular shades, designed with several engineered layers designed to trap heat, are able to stop energy flow much better than pleated shades.

faux wood shutters in Cleveland living room 

The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a solid-body faux wood polymer, can keep out heat a to a much greater degree than natural wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with random gaps and holes that allow heat to flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, combined with custom weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when shut, giving them that top of the line r-value of more than 6.

Add More Value To Your Home

The data doesn’t lie. Your window coverings play a big part in how comfortable your space can be. Think your home could be a little more comfortable? We’ll help. Get in touch with the team at Sunburst Shutters Cleveland by calling 440-561-6787, or use our free consultation request form below.