MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - June 14, 2010) -  (Family Features) Windows can be one of the home's most attractive features -- but they can also be the main source of temperature loss. According to the US Department of Energy, windows can account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill. Fortunately, improving insulation doesn't have to mean replacing all your windows.

Measuring Energy Efficiency
Understanding the following three terms will help you make smart choices when searching for ways to make your windows more energy efficient.

  • U-factor: The window industry measures the energy efficiency in terms of thermal transmission, also known as U-factor. The U-factor shows you how well the window keeps the air conditioned temperature inside your home from escaping outside. A low U-factor means the window will insulate your house better.
  • Solar heat gain: This measures how well the window blocks heat from the sun from getting indoors.
  • R-value: Insulating products are rated in terms of thermal resistance -- how well the product resists heat loss. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation.

Insulation Options
Homeowners have several options for improving window insulation. Blinds, drapes and shades offer minimal energy savings. Interior plantation shutters are a good way many homeowners choose to increase energy efficiency while adding distinctive style.

Ordinary shutters can allow significant airflow and heat transfer through unsealed gaps. The Polywood Shutter Insulating System was created by Sunburst Shutters to reduce temperature flow through windows. Polywood has been tested and proven to reduce heat transfer and significantly improve the U-factor, solar heat gain and R-value of any window. Adding Polywood to a standard double paned window provides a U-factor of 0.10 and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.17 -- which are better ratings than most replacement windows by themselves.

The Polywood shutter's inner core is made from materials that act as an insulator, and the panels have built-in weather stripping and a unique paint finish which reflects temperature. All of which helps block out extreme temperatures and the sun's damaging rays. Thermal imaging tests show that Polywood offers up to 30 degrees of protection against outdoor heat and cold extremes.

To learn more about interior shutters visit www.sunburstshutters.com