According to Energy Star, the typical US family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills. Some small investments in energy efficiency can help cut those costs significantly.

A Freeport, Ill., resident has been selected to receive an energy-efficient home makeover as part of Commonwealth Edison’s (ComEd) Customers’ Affordable Reliable Energy (CARE) program. Over the next several months, the home of Art Bird Jr. will undergo energy-saving improvements, paid for by ComEd.

Planned improvements to the home include replacing the furnace with a high-efficiency unit, insulating the attic and closets and replacing existing appliances with Energy Star-rated appliances. ComEd also is addressing air leakage and cold spots near windows and vent pipes.

Bird’s home is the seventh of a dozen homes of varying sizes, types and ages throughout northern Illinois to be selected through 2007 to receive a CARE energy-efficiency overhaul. The ComEd-funded projects may include installing energy-efficient appliances or light bulbs, improving insulation, weather-stripping doors and windows, or other improvements, with the objective of saving these customers 20 to 35 percent on their energy bills.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of saving money by having these changes made to my home,” Bird said. “I’m sure learning about how to be more energy efficient will make my family more conscious of how we’re using energy.”   EC