Walla Walla Competes for $5 Million Prize in Energy Efficiency C - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla Competes for $5 Million Prize in Energy Efficiency Contest

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WALLA WALLA, WA. -- What would you do with $5 million? That's what workers at the Sustainability Center in Walla Walla are trying to figure out, as they compete for a big pay out in a national competition.

The contest is hosted by Georgetown University and is challenging smaller communities to become more energy efficient.

Workers at the non-profit sustainability center are trying to inspire the community of Walla Walla to help them win that Georgetown University Energy Prize and of course get the $5 million pay out. 

The way they're doing it is through a game they're calling the Walla Walla Power Play. You could be entered for monthly prizes by doing things simple things like sharing energy tips with your family or more complex, like completing a home insulation project. 

The goal is to help get everyone involved, to help win this nation wide competition.

We met with the center's Executive Director, Erendira Cruz, at the local Home Depot where she showed me what people can do to help Walla Walla win. 

If the people of Walla Walla reduce their energy more than their 50 competitors during a two year span that started last January, then they will win $5 million.

There are simple things like installing LED lights and low flow shower heads, or if you want to make a bigger impact, there are more expensive steps like solar panels. 

Cruz says even if they don't get the grand prize, there's still a positive impact on the community.

"Even if we don't win the five million dollars," Cruz said. "We'll still win because people will be able to save money, people will be able to be more comfortable in their home, and we'll reduce our carbon footprint. It's good for everybody!"

But of course they hope for the best. Cruz has a lot of different ideas on what the sustainable living center could do with $5 million. Things like a revolving energy efficiency fund, installing solar panels on the local municipalities and much more.

But right now the focus is getting everyone involved, no matter how little the impact. 

The grand prize winner will be announced sometime after December 2016.

If you want more information on the competition or some energy tips for your home, then click here to go the Walla Walla Sustainability Center's website: http://www.sustainablelivingcenter.com/#!walla-walla-power-play/c1mcw

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