Shutters and R-Values: Compare Energy-Efficient Window Treatments

Greg Arnett

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy-efficient window treatments. But that’s because we’ve got proof to back up our claims. With the help of some outside research, we’ve been able to map out the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window treatments in Phoenix, from shades to blinds to shutters.

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

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

roller shades in Phoenix home 

Why does the R-value of a window covering make any difference? Basically, a better insulator lets you keep your home at the temperature you want. No matter if you want to keep the heat inside at wintertime or keep your home cool during the summer months, great insulation is a requirement. That’s extra necessary for your windows, as they’re one of the biggest areas of heat loss throughout your whole home.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

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 based on the material and construction between different companies and makes, below is what you can expect to find when comparing window coverings.

Type of Window Covering

Typical R-Value

No window treatment




Pleated shades




Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from HouseLogic &

A short look at the table tells you a couple of things. The first is the fact that a few certain window treatments offer almost no benefit whatsoever (ahem, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value could mean a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether or not you turn on your AC.

Something else you might notice is that the material of your window treatment can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, designed with a number of engineered layers designed to trap heat, can put a stop to energy flow much better than pleated shades.

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The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a solid-body faux wood compound, can keep out heat a to a much greater degree than natural wood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with natural knots and holes that allow heat to flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with seamless weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, which is the reason for their best in class r-value of more than 6.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window coverings play a big part in how comfortable your space is. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a little more comfortable? We’ll help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters Phoenix by calling 480-485-7743, or fill out our free consultation request form below.