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

Matt Thelander

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have proof to back up our claims. With the help of some objective research, we’ve been able to directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window treatments in Salt Lake City, from drapes to blinds to shutters.

What’s An R-Value And Why Does It Matter For Window Treatments?

Everything in your house that contributes to insulation, from the roof to your window coverings, has an R-value. That number lets you know how effective it is at stopping thermal energy from moving through it. A bigger r-value corresponds to a more effective insulator.

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So what difference can the r-value of a window covering make? Simply put, a better insulator makes it easier to keep your home at the temperature you want. Whether you want to keep the heat inside during the winter or keep your home cool during the summer months, you’re going to need effective insulation. That’s even more crucial for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout your whole house.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Every window treatment is not made equal, at least not in insulation. Though there’s some difference due to the material and thickness between different brands and makes, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Covering

Typical R-Value

No window treatment

0.75-1

Mini blinds

1.5-2

Shades

2.5

Draperies

2-3

Hardwood Shutters

3-4

Honeycomb shades

4.5

Polywood plantation shutters

>6

R-values from Energy.gov and HouseLogic.

A quick study of the table tells you a number of things. The first is that some window treatments barely give you any benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), whereas others are energy-efficient beasts. That big gap in R-value can mean a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether or not you turn on the air conditioning.

The second is that the material of your window treatment makes a big difference. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several insulating layers designed to repel heat, can block heat flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

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The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood compound, can repel heat a heap better than wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with natural gaps and knots that let heat flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, combined with custom weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when closed, which is why they have that best in class r-value of 6 and up.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The numbers don’t lie. Your window coverings play a big part in how comfortable your house is. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a bit more comfortable? We can help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Salt Lake City by calling 801-515-3598, or fill out our free estimate request form below.