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

June 13, 2017

We make a big deal about energy-efficient window treatments. But that’s because we’ve got the numbers to back up our claims. With the help of some third party research, we can chart the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in San Diego, from drapes to blinds 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 number indicates how good it is at stopping heat from moving through it. A bigger r-value means a more effective insulator.

cellular shades in San Diego space 

So what difference can the r-value of a window treatment make? Basically, a more effective insulator makes it easier to keep your space at your preferred temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep your home cool in summer, good insulation is crucial to that effort. That’s extra important for your windows, as they’re one of the biggest culprits in heat loss throughout the entire house.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

You don’t get the same benefits from every window treatment, at least not in terms of energy efficiency. Though there can be some variation due to the material and build between different brands and models, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Covering

Average R-Value

Window alone




Pleated shades




Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A short look at the chart tells you a few things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that a few certain window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (ahem, blinds), whereas others are total workhorses in insulating. That big gap in R-value might make for a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether or not you turn on your air conditioning.

You might also notice the fact that what the window treatment is made out of is a big deal. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several insulating layers designed to trap heat, can block energy flow much better than pleated shades.

faux wood shutters in San Diego great room 

Likewise, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood compound, are able to block heat a lot more effectively than hardwood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be porous, with natural knots and gaps that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, fit with custom weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, which is the reason for their best in class r-value of 6 or more.

Bring Some Value Into Your Home

The science doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your house can be. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a bit cozier? We’ll help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters San Diego by calling 760-405-8887, or fill out our free appointment request form below.