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

George Christ

We make a big deal about energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have proof for our claims. With the help of some third party research, we can chart the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Minneapolis, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

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

Everything in your house that insulates, from the walls to your window coverings, has an R-value. That value tells you how effective it is at blocking thermal energy from passing through it. A larger r-value corresponds to a more effective insulator.

cellular shades in Minneapolis house 

So what difference does the r-value of a window treatment make? Well, a more effective insulator makes it easier to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Whether you want to keep in the heat at wintertime or keep the heat out in summer, you need good 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

Not all window treatments are made equal, at least not when it comes to insulation. Though there can be some difference based on the material and thickness between different vendors and models, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window treatments.

Type of Window Covering

Typical R-Value

Window alone








Hardwood Shutters


Cellular shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic & Energy.gov.

A short study of the chart shows you a couple of things. The first is the fact that a few certain window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (ahem, blinds), while others are insulating powerhouses. That difference in R-value can result in a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether you dial up your air conditioning and lose money.

You might also notice the fact that what the window treatment is made out of is a big deal. Cellular shades, designed with a number of insulating layers designed to trap heat, are able to block temperature flow a lot better than pleated shades.

white shutters in Minneapolis great room 

Similarly, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a solid-body faux wood compound, can keep out heat a lot more effectively than natural wood shutters. Natural wood can be porous, with natural holes and knots that allow heat to move easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with custom weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when closed, giving them that top of the line r-value of 6 and up.

Bring Some Value Into Your Home

The stats don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big part in how comfortable your space is. Could your home be a little more comfortable? We can help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Minneapolis by calling 952-856-8130, or use our free estimate request form below.