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

Steve Hill

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy-efficient window treatments. But that’s because we have proof for our claims. With the help of some independent research, we’ve been able to map out the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Detroit, from blinds to drapes 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 coverings, has an R-value. That value tells you how effective it is at stopping thermal energy from going through it. A larger r-value indicates a more effective insulator.

white shades in Detroit space 

So what difference can the r-value of a window covering make? Basically, a more effective insulator makes it easier to keep your house at your preferred temperature. Whether you want to keep the heat inside during the winter or want to stay cool during the summer months, you’re going to need effective insulation. That’s extra necessary for your windows, because they’re a likely culprit for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

You don’t get the same benefits from every window treatment, at least not in terms of insulation. Though there’s some difference due to the material and build between different vendors and makes, this is what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Type of Window Treatment

Typical R-Value

Window alone




Pleated shades




Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A short study of the chart tells you a number of things. The first is that a few certain window coverings barely give you any benefit at all (ahem, blinds), whereas others are total workhorses in insulating. That difference in R-value could mean a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you dial up your air conditioning and lose money.

Something else you might notice is that the material of your window treatment is a big deal. Honeycomb shades, designed with several engineered layers designed to trap heat, are able to block energy flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

white shutters in Detroit living room 

The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a solid-body faux wood polymer, are able to block heat a heap better than natural wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with natural holes and gaps that allow heat to flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, combined with strict weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, which is the reason for their top of the line r-value of 6 or more.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The numbers don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big role in how comfortable your home can be. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a little more comfortable? We can help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters Detroit by calling 248-429-9294, or fill out our free consultation request form below.