Interested in winning a Ford C-Max Energi as well as an eco-efficient house retrofit?

Ford and the MyEnergi Lifestyle initiative have kicked off the MyEnergi Lifestyle retrofit contest with Katie Couric on her syndicated talk show “Katie.”

Homeowners can enter this national contest for a chance to win a package that includes a Ford C-Max Energi, new Whirlpool brand appliances, a SunPower solar power system and other home products designed to bring energy-efficient living to a typical American family.

The contest is now open and runs through June 9, with the grand prize winner to be announced this summer.

Through the MyEnergi Lifestyle initiative, Ford said it 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.

According to Ford, 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, the group of companies involved believes that 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.”

MyEnergi Lifestyle

MyEnergi Lifestyle shows how a typical American family can significantly reduce their electricity bills andCO2 footprint by integrating today’s plug-in vehicle technology, smart home appliances and solar energy.

MyEnergi Lifestyle works by leveraging technology so key energy-consuming devices in a home use less energy, while also shifting energy usage to less expensive periods. At night, for example, when energy costs are lower, a smart refrigerator can perform high-energy tasks like ice making or defrosting.

couric_largeAlong with the contest launch, during a special Mother’s Day show Friday, May 10, “Katie” also surprised a member of its studio audience with her own MyEnergi Lifestyle home retrofit.

Susan Berry, a substitute teacher from Ventura, Calif., was the lucky winner.

“Oh man, this is fantastic,” said Berry. “Now we can give our 15-year-old Ford pickup to my son, my husband can take my Ford Escape and I’ll have the C-Max Energi!”

Berry’s reaction to the surprise can be seen here:

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.

Ford said 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.

More information on the contest, including eligibility rules and to enter for a chance to win, can be found here.

The grand prize package includes:

  • 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi;
  • Eaton solar inverter, solar-ready load center with home surge protection;
  • Eaton electric vehicle supply equipment and generator;
  • Five-kilowatt high-efficiency SunPower system that can produce about 8,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually;
  • Nest learning thermostat;
  • Powerhouse dynamic eMonitor for energy monitoring;
  • Whirlpool brand smart dishwasher, smart washer and dryer combination, smart refrigerator, hybrid heat pump water heater and more.