FORT LEE, Va. (April 7, 2016) -- A resident of the Monroe Manor housing area here has won a $1,000 cash prize from a contest in which military families across the country were asked to reduce their energy consumption by at least 10 percent during the last quarter of 2015.

Capt. Jeff Delp received a check and certificate Monday from Fort Lee Family Housing staffers representing Hunt Communities, the company that manages military housing at installations across the country. It co-hosted the contest with Minol USA, the organization that manages the energy program for the company.

The contest ran from October -- December and was open to the entire portfolio of Hunt Communities, said Charleen Herriott, Fort Lee Family Housing community director. More than 8,000 families -- 700 from Fort Lee alone -- were entered into the drawing that awarded $1,000, $750 and $500 to first, second and third place, respectively. The Delp family was randomly selected as the first place winner.

"October through December are usually our high energy usage months due to the holidays and colder temperatures," said Herriott. "The Delp family was able to achieve lower than normal usage in their home."

Winning the award was a surprise, said Delp, who guessed his wife probably signed them up for the contest last year.

"We received this for making our kids play outside and turning off lights when we're not in the room?" Delp questioned with a hint of amazement when he received the award check.

Delp -- who has been assigned to Fort Lee for two years -- said the award reaffirms his belief that simple things can make a difference in energy usage.

"We've always been energy conscious," he said. "We came to Fort Lee from Canada where the electric bill is crazy so that made us very disciplined to shutting off lights when we aren't in a room. We're outside people and when you're outside a lot, you don't need to have the A/C or the heat very high because you're used to the temperature. In the winter, we set it to 68 F and in the summer, we set it to 74 F."

Hunt Communities and Minol have held several contests like this, but it was the first time a Fort Lee family was the grand winner. Aside from prizes like this, housing residents can earn checks for lowering their energy usage, said Herriott.

"If they conserve and reach a $50 credit, they get a $50 check sent to them," she said. "Residents earn the credit by having lower energy consumption than is the baseline for energy in post housing."