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

Tyler Jorgensen

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 chart the energy efficiency of the most common window coverings in Austin, from blinds to shades to shutters.

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

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

white shades in Austin home 

Why does the R-value of a window covering matter? Basically, a better insulator lets you keep your house at your preferred temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep your home cool during the summer months, you’re going to need effective insulation. 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

Not every window treatment offers the same benefits, at least not in insulation. Though there can be some variation due to the material and construction 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 study of 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 makes a big difference. Cellular shades, designed with several 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 lot more effectively than natural wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with random knots and gaps that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, fit with strict weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when shut, giving them that best in class r-value of more than 6.

Add More Value To Your Home

The stats don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big role in how comfortable your house 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.