Two new energy saving schemes aimed at reducing bills and cutting carbon levels in America have been unveiled.
The world's first Cattle Feedlot Solar Field has been completed by Independent Solar Developers, in California.
The 480kW solar field can power 100 homes and generate energy for feed production and provide shade for livestock.
Residents in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys were able to invest their energy dollars in the alternative solar energy scheme that provides them with renewable electricity.
Peter Molloy, from Independent Solar Developers, says, "We are very pleased with our accomplishment. It is the result of our commitment to renewable energy and the motivation to provide alternative investments for energy dollars compared to the utility electricity bill."
Independent Solar Developers has been involved in solar development since 2010.
Meanwhile, in Houston, residents are signing up to a new e5 intelligent energy management system aimed at saving power and costs without sacrificing comfort.
The free e5 program, operated via the internet and mobile phones, uses weather data and cheap, off-peak energy tariffs to heat or cool the home hours ahead of time. The set temperatures are always close to the homeowner's preferences.
The new program uses local weather conditions from co-developer Earth Networks' WeatherBug, along with thermostats connected to the internet and software tools from co-developer EnergyHub, to help lower energy use. Homeowners log on to a website to input their desired temperature settings. They can also change them, when needed, using smartphone apps.
For example, if the forecast predicts an afternoon heat wave, e5 may pre-cool the home earlier that morning when energy demand is low and less electricity is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.
The e5 program stands for ease, energy, efficiency, environment and earth. All residents taking part also get a Home Efficiency Score Card, which ranks the energy efficiency of the home, as well as changes in temperature, wind and warmth. The first 2,500 enrolled also get a $25 Home Depot Gift Card.
The program is open to Houston area residents with single-family homes, plus some others in townhouses and larger condos.
Jarrett Simon, Manager, Program Implementation, CenterPoint Energy, says, "We are making this service available to all residents in our Greater Houston electric service territory to help them conserve energy, especially during the hot summer months."
Residents can get more information and sign-up online.
Earth Networks runs the world's largest weather observation and lightning detection networks and carries out greenhouse gas monitoring. Its WeatherBug website and applications provide real-time local weather information. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C. and it has bases in 50 countries around the world.
EnergyHub, Inc. creates software and hardware to help reduce energy usage and save money. It is based in Brooklyn, New York.