Shutters and R-Values: Compare Energy Efficiency of Window Treatments

Darren Wong

We’re big talkers on the subject of energy-efficient window treatments. But that’s because we’ve got the hard data to back it up. With the help of some outside research, we can directly compare the energy efficiency of the most often-chosen window coverings in Honolulu, from shades to drapes to shutters.

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

Everything in your house that separates indoors from outdoors, from the walls to your window coverings, has an R-value. That value tells you how effective it is at stopping heat from passing through it. A larger r-value corresponds to a better insulator.

roller shades in Honolulu home 

So what difference does the r-value of a window covering make? Well, a more effective insulator makes it easier to keep your space at the temperature you want. Whether you want to keep in the heat during the winter or keep the heat out during the summer months, great insulation is a requirement. That’s extra necessary for your windows, as they’re one of the biggest culprits in heat loss throughout the whole home.

Comparing R-values & Energy Efficiency Of Window Treatments

Not every window treatment offers the same benefits, at least not in terms of energy efficiency. Though there’s some difference due to the material and construction between different brands and makes, below is what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Type of Window Treatment

Average R-Value

Window alone


Mini blinds






Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-value averages sourced from HouseLogic &

A short glance at the chart shows you a few things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is that some window treatments offer almost no benefit whatsoever (ahem, blinds), whereas others are insulating powerhouses. That big gap in R-value might result in a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you dial up your air conditioning and lose money.

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 trap heat, can block energy flow much more effectively than pleated shades.

white shutters in Honolulu living room 

Similarly, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood polymer, can repel heat a lot more effectively than wood shutters. That’s because natural wood can be permeable, with natural gaps and holes that allow heat to move easily. Polywood shutters, combined with custom weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when closed, which is the reason for their top of the line r-value of 6 and up.

Bring Some Value Into Your Home

The stats don’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your home can be. Think your home could be a little cozier? We’ll help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Honolulu by calling 808-797-2004, or fill out our free estimate request form below.