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

Darren Zuckerman

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. That’s because we’ve got proof for our claims. With the help of some objective research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in New York City, from blinds to shades to shutters.

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

Everything in your home that contributes to insulation, from the walls to your window treatments, has an R-value. That value lets you know how good it is at preventing thermal energy from going through it. A higher r-value corresponds to a better insulator.

white shades in New York City house 

So what difference can the r-value of a window covering make? Well, a better insulator makes it easier to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. No matter if you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep the heat out in summer, great insulation is a requirement. That’s even more crucial for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout the whole house.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Every window treatment is not made equal, at least not when it comes to energy efficiency. Though there can be some variation based on the material and thickness between different companies and makes, below is what you’re likely to find when comparing window treatments.

Window Covering

Typical R-Value

Window alone




Pleated shades




Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from HouseLogic & Energy.gov.

A quick study of the chart tells you a number of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that a few certain window treatments offer almost no benefit at all (we’re talking about you, blinds), while others are energy-efficient beasts. That difference in R-value could make for a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether or not you crank up your air conditioning.

The second is that what the window treatment is made out of makes a big difference. Honeycomb shades, designed with multiple engineered layers designed to trap heat, can stop heat flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

plantation shutters in New York City living room 

Likewise, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a solid-body faux wood polymer, can block heat a heap better than wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with natural knots and gaps that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, fit with custom weatherstripping, build a solid seal on your window when shut, giving them that best in class r-value of 6 and up.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window coverings play a big role in how comfortable your home can be. Think your home could be a little more comfortable? We can help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters New York by calling 631-246-3930, or use our free consultation request form below.