DEARBORN — Americans can sharply cut their energy use without sacrificing lifestyle comfort.
That’s the message of Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. and Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp., which are demonstrating products in the Ford-led MyEnergy Lifetyle retrofit contest on Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, “Katie.”
Homeowners can enter a national contest for a chance to win a package that includes a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid car, new energy-efficient Whirlpool appliances, a SunPower solar power system, an Eaton charging station and other energy saving products.
Using these products, a family could see up to a 60 percent reduction in energy costs and savings of more than 9,000 kilograms of CO2 – a reduction of 55 percent – in their home.
The contest runs through June 9, with the grand prize winner to be announced this summer.
Through the MyEnergi Lifestyle initiative, Ford is bringing together leaders in the home appliance, renewable energy and power management industries – including Eaton, SunPower and Whirlpool. Additional featured companies are semiconductor provider Infineon and Nest Labs.
The group worked with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to create a computer model that calculates the electricity usage of a typical family in their home for one year, and the potential savings associated with moving to an energy-efficient lifestyle.
As Americans’ thirst for energy grows, recent advancements in technology make this the ideal time to demonstrate the benefits of optimizing a family’s energy footprint. Along with 729 gallons of gasoline and 122,000 cubic feet of natural gas, the average home in America uses more than 11,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year; in 1930, the figure was 500 kilowatt-hours. That’s an increase of 2,100 percent.
Home appliances have made huge gains in reducing energy usage. Today, the typical smart appliance, like a refrigerator, uses 70 percent less energy than one built in 1980.
“We’re very excited to offer the MyEnergi Lifestyle retrofit to our winning families and to put it to the test,” says Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “By combining a Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle, smart energy-efficient appliances and renewable energy generation, we hope to reduce the families’ energy consumption and save them money. Our computer models suggest we’re looking at a 60 percent reduction in energy costs and a 55 percent reduction in CO2 annually for these families through the retrofit.”
If every home in the United States were to implement the energy-saving technologies MyEnergi Lifestyle incorporates, it would be the equivalent of taking all the homes in California, New York and Texas – 32 million homes – off the power grid.
To enter the MyEnergi Lifestyle retrofit contest, applicants will need to submit an essay of 400 words or less explaining how adding solar power and switching to smart, energy-efficient appliances and a plug-in hybrid vehicle could benefit their family.
Representatives of the MyEnergi Lifestyle initiative will serve as judges for the essays, and their determination of a family most deserving of the grand prize will help decide the winner.
For more information on the contest, including eligibility rules and to enter for a chance to win, visit www.katiecouric.com/features/win-ford-hybrid-car-whirlpool-smart-appliances/.