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First Takes: Saving Energy with Peer Pressure, the Redskins Kickoff a Solar Array & More

• Keeping Up with the Joneses: Honeywell and energy management software creator Opower are teaming up to develop a web-connected programmable thermostat that will help households save energy by using the smart device -- and data it supplies about energy use and spending by similar households in the region. Honeywell and Opower announced their partnership today. Green Biz Senior Writer Marc Gunther explored how Opower taps the power of peer pressure to spur energy savings in a post last year.

• The Vanguard of the Solar Boom: Three companies have emerged as the top solar panel suppliers amid a growing number of commercial scale projects. The firms are First Solar and SunPower Corporation in the U.S. and Suntech Power of China. Meanwhile six states have the lion's share of those commercial scale projects: California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Jersey and Mexico. SmartPlanet has the articles that stem from a report by SolarBuzz, while Renewable Energy World  looks at the United States' 24 gigawatt project pipeline described in the report.

• A Giant Solar Array at FedEx Field:
On Thursday, the Washington Redskins and NRG Energy plan to show off what they say is the largest solar installation in the NFL. The new array of 8,000 panels is expected to supply the equivalent of 20 percent of the electricity used on game days and all of the stadium's power needs when there isn't a game. The project includes 10 electric car chargers. The solar initiative is the latest example of the greening of pro sports facilities and operations.

• Fairmont Trims Carbon Emissions:
The Fairmont luxury hotel group said today that it has pared down its CO2 emissions by 8.4 percent. The company has a goal of reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent compared to 2006 levels within the next two years.

• PlantBottle Sprouts Up in UK: Coca-Cola's PlantBottle made its U.K. debut this week with the first of what will become 200 million more environmentally friendly packaging units in the country, The Guardian reported. The bottles, which are to replace the 500ml bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, made their international debut in Denmark in 2009.

• New Use for Soiled Nappies and the Like: If it's absorbent and used by humans to sop up things people would prefer not to dwell on (think of disposable diapers, adult incontinence pads and feminine hygiene products), then a series of new facilities in the United Kingdom will recycle the items. The first of five plants dedicated to recycling absorbent hygiene products, known as AHPs, and run by Canadian firm Knowaste opened Monday. Plastic and other fibers are extricated from the items, sterilized and included in the content for things like roofing tiles, according to an article in Business Green.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Ryan Tir.

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