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

June 13, 2017

We’re big talkers when it comes to energy-efficient window treatments. That’s because we have proof for our claims. With the help of some third party research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window treatments in Virginia Beach, from blinds to shades to shutters.

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

Everything in your house that separates indoors from outdoors, from the roof to your window coverings, has an R-value. That value lets you know how good it is at preventing thermal energy from moving through it. A higher r-value corresponds to a better insulator.

cellular shades in Virginia Beach space 

So what difference can the r-value of a window covering make? Basically, a better insulator lets you keep your space at the temperature you want. 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 even more crucial for your windows, as they’re one of the most common culprits in heat loss throughout the whole house.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Not every window treatment offers the same benefits, at least not in terms of insulation. Though there’s some difference based on the material and construction between different brands and makes, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window treatments.

Type of Window Treatment

Typical R-Value

No window treatment




Pleated shades




Hardwood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from HouseLogic &

A short glance at the chart shows you a couple of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is that a few certain window coverings barely give you any benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), whereas others are total workhorses in insulating. That difference in R-value can make for a difference of several degrees – that’s the difference in whether you dial up your AC and spend more money.

Something else you might notice is that the material of your window treatment is a big deal. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several insulating layers designed to block heat, can stop energy flow a lot more effectively than pleated shades.

faux wood shutters in Virginia Beach living room 

The same way, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood compound, can keep out heat a lot more effectively than hardwood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with natural gaps and holes that allow heat to flow through them easily. Polywood shutters, fit with custom weatherstripping, can create a solid seal on your window when shut, which is why they have that top of the line r-value of 6 and up.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The stats don’t lie. Your window treatments play a big part in how comfortable your home can be. Think your home could be a little more comfortable? We can help. Get in touch with the team at Sunburst Shutters Virginia Beach by calling 757-210-6448, or fill out our free consultation request form below.