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

Stefano Diotaiuti

We’re big talkers on the subject of energy-efficient window treatments. That’s because we’ve got the hard numbers to back it up. With the help of some third party research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in Nashville, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

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

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

honeycomb shades in Nashville space 

Why does the R-value of a window covering matter? Simply put, a more energy efficient window treatment makes it easier to keep your space at a comfortable 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 even more crucial for your windows, because they’re a likely reason for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not in insulation. Though there’s some difference based on the material and thickness between different brands and models, this is what you can expect to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Treatment

Typical R-Value

No window treatment


Mini blinds


Pleated shades




Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A quick study of the chart tells you a few things. The first is the fact that some window treatments barely give you any benefit at all (we’re talking about you, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That difference in R-value can mean a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether or not you crank up the AC.

The second is that what the window treatment is made out of can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several insulating layers designed to repel heat, are able to stop energy flow a lot better than pleated shades.

white shutters in Nashville great room 

Similarly, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood compound, can repel heat a lot more effectively than hardwood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with random knots and gaps that allow heat to flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, fit with seamless weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when closed, giving them that best in class r-value of 6 or more.

Bring Some Value Into Your Home

The stats don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big part in how comfortable your home is. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a bit cozier? We’ll help. Get in touch with the team at Sunburst Shutters Nashville by calling 615-236-8530, or use our free estimate request form below.