The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute has joined an energy-efficiency campaign, which will educate consumers on energy consumption.

The campaign will also offer a home-energy makeover contest.

The partnership involves ARI, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Edison Electric Institute and NBC Universal’s Sci-Fi cable TV channel.

The campaign and contest Web site can be located at

The event coincides with a “Eureka” marathon, a television program in which the lead characters live in a “smart house.” The program was the idea for the Eureka Smart House Energy-Efficiency Challenge, a national drive for home energy efficiency.

“Considering central air conditioning accounts for about 15 percent of the electricity consumed by U.S. households, in order to conserve energy, we must replace older, inefficient cooling systems with newer, more efficient technology,” said ARI President Stephen R. Yurek. “But these gains can only be achieved if new systems are properly installed. In fact, poorly installed air-conditioning systems can be up to 40 percent less efficient than the certified efficiency rating noted on the equipment. We hope this campaign will help us reach more Americans with these important energy-saving messages.”

Based on an energy audit, the grand-prize winner could receive up to $25,000 worth of energy-efficiency improvements to create a “smarter” home. To enter, contestants are asked to answer a few energy-oriented questions about their homes and write a brief essay about why they deserve the makeover.

After submitting their entry, they are encouraged to go towww.sixdegreechallenge.organd test their energy-conserving knowledge.

“ARI’s member companies, which produce the vast majority of central air-conditioning systems installed in American homes, would not only like consumers to take advantage of the highly efficient systems they offer, but also to learn about what characterizes a quality installation and why they will save energy by working with qualified installers,” Yurek said. “As part of this campaign, ARI will be providing resources on its Web site to help consumers optimize the efficiency of their cooling systems.”