Tag Archives: CPS energy

Trees of Texas & Why You Should Plant Them


If the weather stays temperate, as it is likely to do here in South Texas, then now is a good time to enhance your yard with some beautiful trees. Especially if you’re having a brand new custom home built and you’re starting with a raw piece of land, you have the opportunity to pick and choose which trees you would like to see grow and flourish right alongside your family.

Trees provide so many benefits. Besides the essential oxygen they give us, they also build soil and soak up storm water, which can ultimately help prevent flooding. Shade trees are great energy-savers – they reduce ozone levels and create a habitat for all the small creatures. Interestingly, a mature shade tree on the south or west side of the house can save up to a whopping 25% on your energy bill.

One of the best reasons to plant trees is for the amazing bounty they provide. In Texas, there are several kinds of trees, like pecan trees, that offer delicious fruit and nuts that you can enjoy throughout the year. Here’s a short list of some of the best trees for your South Texas estate.

Fruit Trees

There are numerous kinds of fruit trees that do well in this area, and truly there is something thrilling about walking out your back door and picking a piece of fruit off your own tree. For peaches, go with Springold, Bicentennial, Loring, Ranger, Belle of Georgia, Dixiland, Denman, Milam or Harvester. For apricots try Bryan, Hungarian or Moorpark. For plums there’s Ayers, Garber, Maxine, Orient, Moonglow, LeConte or Kieffer. For apples, consider Gala, Mollie’s Delicious, Ozark Gold, Jerseymac, Starkspur G. D. or Starkrimson R. D.

Additionally, Black Mission Fig and Celeste Fig trees are very popular in this area. Satsuma Orange trees are said to do well too, and as we’re here in the hub of Tex-Mex cuisine, it’s also worth considering putting a lime tree in, although be aware they do not do at all well in the cold and must be insulated when it freezes.

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtles do great here and can be found in just about any size you’re looking for, from one foot tall to 50 feet tall, and they come in an assortment of beautiful colors. Beware that deer love to eat the foliage of the young trees so they will need to be fenced in until they’re large enough to not be a problem.

Desert Willow

For sheer beauty, a desert willow is the way to go. In the summertime the tree blooms with stunning little purple flowers. They are small, delicate, deciduous trees that are native to Texas so they are drought-resistant. You can plant multiple along a driveway or in the backyard to attract birds and bees.

For more information, our very own CPS Energy actually provides an entire online guide to local tree selection.

Texas A&M also offers a great Texas trees resource:

When you’re ready to build a home to showcase all those great trees, give us a call at 210-494-5400. To be added to our private email list to receive the newsletter, please sign up here.




The Power of Solar for your Home

solar house

We’ve explored various roofing options before in a past blog, but we wanted to go a little bit deeper into the amazing benefits of solar roofing, particularly if you live (or want to live) in San Antonio or the surrounding area. The market for alternative, renewable energy sources is growing rapidly and will likely only continue to gain momentum.

Not only is solar roofing a wonderfully green and eco-conscious option where you end up generating money instead of burning it, but locally, many electricity companies are offering consumers rebates when they make energy-saving improvements to their homes.


CPS Energy, which services San Antonio, offers a rebate on solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight to electricity. Currently, the power company that services Schertz is also providing solar rebates to consumers.

In fact, these company offer a wide variety of rebates on things from pool pumps to air conditioners and new construction. While these rebates aren’t indefinite, it’s worth noting that rebates on solar roofs have been consistent. CPS even offers one for solar water heaters, up to $2,000. Energy Star estimates that you can reduce your electric bill by 50% when you switch to solar water heaters. For specific information on rebates, it’s best to contact the companies directly for details.


Solar panels have been around a lot longer than solar shingles, which first came into use in 2011. Shingles are installed similarly to asphalt shingles and, in fact, replace the asphalt shingles where they are installed, which can result in modest savings.

Solar shingles can be installed on various types of roofs and most people find them much more aesthetically pleasing than the somewhat bulky appearance of panels. However, panels are considered to be a touch more efficient than shingles, but not by much. Currently, the conversion efficiency of shingles is 19.9% while panels are 20.3%.


-          The financial rewards are by far the best reason to install a solar roof. In case it wasn’t clear, not only do you save money using solar, but if the conditions are right and let’s face it they are in South Texas, you may even start receiving a check from your energy company after a while.

-          Over the long run, a homeowner might save $20,000 over a 20 year time period with a solar roof, at least that’s the national average. In Texas, it will be more like $30,000.

-          Using solar power is a reliable, secure and independent resource that cannot be controlled by a company or agency, which is why even the military is working to install solar power systems.

-          Interestingly, solar power creates jobs. As an energy source, solar power creates almost three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas.

Besides the cost of initial installation, the disadvantages of having a solar roof are virtually non-existent. If this is something you’d like to consider for your new custom home, give us a call at 210-494-5400.

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Texas Wind Turbines & the Future of Wind Energy

As our resources grow more and more precious, technologies such as wind turbines help us maintain reasonable costs to keep the lights on. Driving west along I10 outside of the city, it’s hard to miss the giant wind turbines standing like sentinels along the plateau. If you haven’t given them a second thought before, there’s some interesting things you might not know.

The collection of wind turbines, also called a wind farm, just north of Interstate 10 in Pecos County is called the Desert Sky Wind Farm and all of the power it produces is bought by CPS Energy, a company you’re probably very familiar with if you live in or around San Antonio.

The energy that this one farm alone produces is enough to supply about 40,000 homes. According to the American Wind Energy Association, “Over the last 20 years, the cost of electricity from utility-scale wind systems has dropped by more than 80%.”

Power from the turbines flows through the power transmission network in West Texas to CPS customers in the San Antonio area. The great thing about it is that turbines create renewable energy that has a low environmental impact.

As companies such as these are embracing and understanding the potential and benefits of renewable energy, they’re working to develop the next generation of wind turbine technology, which may be just around the corner.

A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless has developed a new bladeless design. These 41-foot-tall cylinders are anticipated to cost half as much as traditional turbines and capture up to 40 percent of the wind’s power in ideal conditions.

The company is still raising money, but hopes to close a round of funding in the United States soon, so eventually you might see our beautiful Texas pinwheels replaced by stalks of what resembles white asparagus. In either case, it’s good to know that renewable energy isn’t just a fad but a growing resource!