Window shutters represent a stylish design element that adds a sophisticated touch to any home. However, the wide choice of styles, materials and colours often makes decision-making difficult for designers and homeowners when selecting the most suitable shutter for their application.

Shutters play an important functional role in the home beyond their aesthetic appeal. Window shutters should be selected based on their ability to control the amount of light, air and heat in the home. These abilities determine the thermal performance of the shutter, which is an important factor in the specification process given the rising energy costs in Australia.

Traditional glass windows have negligible insulation qualities with heat easily escaping in winter and radiating inwards in summer, increasing the load on the home’s heating and cooling systems. By adding the right shutters, the homeowner can improve their home’s thermal performance and achieve the desired energy use objectives in winter or summer.

Window shutters are made from different materials and will therefore, have varying insulation efficiency. Designers, specifiers and homeowners can find it difficult to wade through the claims made by window shutter manufacturers about the thermal properties of their products.

A recent study from The University of Newcastle School of Engineering compared the most popular types of window coverings, with thermal performance measured by the percentage of temperature difference achieved by each shutter system.

The study tested a range of window covering types including shutters, blinds and curtains made from different materials including polystyrene, aluminium, basswood, thermo PVS and western red cedar.

To see which shutters provide the best thermal insulation, check out the results in this infographic.