R-Values of Shutters: Comparing Energy-Efficient Window Treatments

Holly Perron

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have the hard numbers to back us up. With the help of some third party research, we’ve been able to map out the energy efficiency of the most common window coverings in Boston, from blinds to shades to shutters.

What Is R-Value And Why What Does It Mean For Window Treatments?

Everything in your house that separates the inside from the outside, from the walls to your window treatments, has an R-value. That value tells you how effective it is at preventing heat from moving through it. A larger r-value means a better insulator.

honeycomb shades in Boston space 

So what difference can the r-value of a window treatment make? Well, a more energy efficient window treatment makes it easier to keep your space at your preferred temperature. No matter if you want to keep in the heat at wintertime or keep your home cool during the summer months, you’re going to need effective insulation. That’s extra important for your windows, because they’re a likely culprit for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not in energy efficiency. Though there can be some variation based on the material and build between different vendors and models, here’s what you can expect to find when comparing window treatments.

Window Covering

Typical R-Value

No window treatment








Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from HouseLogic & Energy.gov.

A quick glance at the chart tells you a number of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that a few certain window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), while others are energy-efficient beasts. That difference in R-value could result in a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether or not you turn on 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 engineered layers designed to trap heat, are able to block heat flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

Polywood shutters in Boston living room 

Likewise, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood polymer, can repel heat a heap better than wood shutters. Natural wood can be cavernous, with random knots 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 why they have that top of the line r-value of 6 and up.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your home can be. Think your home could be a little cozier? We can help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Boston by calling 781-352-2205, or use our free consultation request form below.