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

Bill Burke

We make a big deal about energy efficiency in window treatments. That’s because we have the hard numbers to back us up. With the help of some independent research, we’ve been able to directly compare the energy efficiency of the most common window treatments in Indianapolis, from blinds to drapes to shutters.

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

Everything in your house that contributes to insulation, from the walls to your windows, has an R-value. That number lets you know how good it is at blocking thermal energy from moving through it. A larger r-value indicates a more effective insulator.

white shades in Indianapolis house 

Why does the R-value of a window covering matter? Basically, a more effective insulator lets you keep your home at your preferred temperature. No matter if you want to keep in the heat at wintertime or keep the heat out in summer, you need good insulation. That’s especially necessary for your windows, because they’re a big reason for energy loss in your home.

Window Treatment R-value Comparison Chart

Every window treatment is not made equal, at least not in insulation. Though there can be some variation due to the material and build between different companies and models, here’s what you’re likely to find when comparing window coverings.

Type of Window Treatment

Average R-Value

No window treatment


Mini blinds






Wood Shutters


Honeycomb shades


Polywood plantation shutters


R-values from and HouseLogic.

A short look at the table tells you a number of things. Perhaps the first thing you notice is the fact that some window treatments barely give you any benefit whatsoever (ahem, blinds), whereas others are energy-efficient beasts. That big gap in R-value might mean a difference of several degrees – enough to make an impact in whether you dial up your AC and waste money.

The second is that what the window treatment is made out of makes a big difference. Honeycomb shades, which are made with several engineered layers designed to trap heat, can block energy flow a lot more effectively than pleated shades.

plantation shutters in Indianapolis sunroom 

Likewise, Polywood® plantation shutters, built from a completely solid faux wood polymer, can repel heat a to a much greater degree than natural wood shutters. Natural wood can be permeable, with natural knots and gaps that let heat move easily. Polywood shutters, outfitted with strict weatherstripping, make a solid seal on your window when shut, giving them that best in class r-value of 6 or more.

Up Your Home’s R-value

The science doesn’t lie. Your window treatments play a big role in how comfortable your house can be. Ever feel like your house could stand to be a bit cozier? We’ll help. Have a chat with the team at Sunburst Shutters Indianapolis by calling 317-558-9066, or use our free appointment request form below.