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The Rodriguez Family

Meet the Rodriguez Family

Juan Rodriguez, 50, and wife Benus, 46, live in their Chicago bungalow with two children. The family made major energy-efficient improvements to the home last summer.

Why They Decided to Make Changes

Prior to the improvements, the family was experiencing cold winter drafts around the house. The family applied for a ComEd Care promotion for a free home energy audit designed to help families offset rising rates. Results showed several air leaks in the home, motivating Juan to improve sealing and insulation. Juan also had not realized that by installing new energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and heating/cooling equipment he could offset the increase in his utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Juan knew that the energy-efficient improvements might cost more money up front, but would pay for themselves in the long term. Also, Juan has asthma, so the comfort of his home is an important factor.

Brief Overview of Home Improvements

The home was heated by an inefficient patchwork of radiators, electric space heaters, a furnace and electric baseboard heaters. The family implemented a number of improvements designed to reduce their energy bills and increase the comfort of their home.

What the Rodriguez Family Did to Save Energy

Juan upgraded to double-pane windows, sealed the areas around them with caulking, and added weather stripping to doors. The energy audit found that inadequate insulation increased Juan’s heating bills and contributed to the uncomfortable temperature. To tighten the home’s envelope, air leaks near the attic and in the basement were sealed with foam. Juan also installed a programmable thermostat, which can save up to $150 a year on utility bills. ComEd helped Juan select a few new ENERGY STAR qualified kitchen appliances and lighting products, including ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs. The old boiler was also upgraded to replace the less efficient electric and space heaters.

Results of the Improvements

The family is expected to save as much as 30 percent on their annual energy bills with the new improvements. Even with the area increase in electricity prices, the family still paid less this year than last. Juan expects additional reductions in energy bills this summer as he installs new ENERGY STAR qualified window air-conditioning units. The family is happy with their improvements, as the home is noticeably less drafty and more comfortable. Also, lighting quality remains high with the new ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs.

Additional Plans for Home Improvement

Juan plans to replace more windows with ENERGY STAR qualified models. He’d also like to upgrade to an ENERGY STAR qualified TV, VCR, and DVD player since these consume energy even when not in use. Juan’s grown children have been so inspired by their dad that they’ve recently started making similar changes in their own homes.

Advice from the Family

  • Purchase a programmable thermostat and ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs. These are the easiest ways to save energy and are simple to install. Home sealing to prevent leaks and drafts is also easy to do on cracks, windows, and walls.
  • Check to see if your utility company offers a home energy audit or promotions for efficient ENERGY STAR qualified equipment. Watch do-it-yourself TV shows or attend a free class offered by a home-improvement store to learn about energy-efficient home improvements.
  • Advocate for energy efficiency. It will save you money and protect the environment.

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