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Shutters and R-Values: Compare Energy Efficiency of Window Treatments

June 13, 2017

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have proof to back up our claims. With the help of some scientific research, we’ve been able to map out the energy efficiency of the most common window coverings in Austin, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

What Is R-Value And Why Is It Important For Window Coverings?

Everything in your house that separates the inside from the outside, from the walls to your window coverings, has an R-value. That number tells you how good it is at preventing thermal energy from moving through it. A higher r-value means a more effective insulator.

white shades in Austin space 

Why does the R-value of a window covering matter? Simply put, a better insulator lets you keep your home at your preferred temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep your home cool during the summer months, great insulation is a requirement. That’s even more important for your windows, because they’re a big culprit for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

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

Type of Window Covering

Typical R-Value

Window alone








Hardwood Shutters


Cellular shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from and HouseLogic.

A short look at the table tells you a few things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is that some window coverings barely give you any benefit at all (we’re talking about you, blinds), while others are insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value could result in a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you dial up your air conditioning and spend more money.

You might also notice the fact that what the window treatment is made out of can have a big impact. Cellular shades, designed with a number of insulating layers designed to block heat, can block energy flow a lot better than pleated shades.

white shutters in Austin living room 

The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood polymer, can block heat a heap better than natural wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with random knots and gaps that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with seamless weatherstripping, can create 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 stats don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big role in how comfortable your space is. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a bit more comfortable? We can help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Austin by calling 512-549-6077, or use our free consultation request form below.