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

Trevis Bruce

We talk a big talk when it comes to energy efficiency in window treatments. But that’s because we have the numbers to back it 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 Jacksonville, from drapes to blinds to shutters.

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

Everything in your home that separates the inside from the outside, from the walls to your window treatments, has an R-value. That number indicates how good it is at blocking thermal energy from going through it. A larger r-value means a better insulator.

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Why does the R-value of a window covering matter? Well, a more energy efficient window treatment makes it easier to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Whether you want to keep the heat inside during the winter or want to stay cool during the summer months, you need good insulation. That’s especially important for your windows, because they’re a big culprit for energy loss in your home.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Every window treatment is not made equal, at least not in terms of energy efficiency. Though there’s some variation due to the material and construction between different vendors and makes, below is what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Window Covering

Typical R-Value

No window treatment

0.75-1

Blinds

1.5-2

Pleated 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 glance at the table shows you a few things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that some window treatments offer almost no benefit whatsoever (looking at you, blinds), while others are insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value could result in a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you dial up your AC and spend more money.

Something else you might notice is that the material of your window treatment can have a big impact. Honeycomb shades, designed with multiple insulating layers designed to trap heat, are able to block heat flow a lot better than pleated shades.

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Similarly, Polywood® plantation shutters, made from a completely solid faux wood polymer, are able to keep out heat a to a much greater degree than hardwood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be cavernous, with random knots and holes that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with seamless weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, which is why they have that top of the line r-value of 6 or more.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big part in how comfortable your space can be. Think your home could be a bit more comfortable? We can help. Get in touch with the team at Sunburst Shutters Jacksonville by calling 904-289-1663, or fill out our free appointment request form below.