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

June 13, 2017

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy-efficient window treatments. That’s because we have the hard numbers to back us up. With the help of some scientific research, we’ve been able to directly compare the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in Atlanta, from blinds to shades to shutters.

What’s An R-Value And Why What Does It Mean For Window Coverings?

Everything in your home that insulates, from the roof to your windows, has an R-value. That number tells you how good it is at stopping thermal energy from going through it. A higher r-value corresponds to a better insulator.

honeycomb shades in Atlanta space 

Why does the R-value of a window treatment make any difference? Basically, a more energy efficient window treatment makes it easier to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. No matter if you want to keep the heat inside during the winter or keep your home cool in summer, good insulation is crucial to that effort. That’s especially important for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout the whole home.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not in insulation. Though there can be some difference due to the material and build between different vendors and makes, this is what you’re likely to find when comparing window treatments.

Type of Window Covering

Average R-Value

No window treatment


Mini blinds






Wood Shutters


Cellular shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A quick study of the chart tells you a few things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that some window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value can result in a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether or not you turn on the air conditioning.

Something else you might notice is that what the window treatment is made out of is a big deal. Cellular shades, designed with several engineered layers designed to repel heat, are able to stop energy flow a lot more effectively than pleated shades.

Polywood shutters in Atlanta sunroom 

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

Up Your Home’s R-value

The numbers don’t lie. Your window treatments play a big part in how comfortable your space can be. Could your home be a bit cozier? We can help. Talk to the team at Sunburst Shutters Atlanta by calling 404-962-8517, or fill out our free appointment request form below.