There are many factors that might make a given city more or less eco-friendly than another. National Geographic breaks down ranking based on various metrics, from air pollution, availability of renewable energy sources, investment in sustainable architecture and facilities, etc.
Obviously, there is no standard measurement for eco-friendliness in cities. We nonetheless attempt to condense National Geographic’s findings into our own version of a top 9 count down of environmentally friendly cities in the US below:
9. Atlanta, GA – The EPA awards Energy Star Certifications to structures that voluntarily surpass established benchmarks for energy efficiency and Atlanta had the third most building receive this distinction between 2008 to 2011.
8. Dallas, TX – According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership program, Dallas ranks third for its annual investment in renewable energy sources as an alternative to fossil fuel generated power.
7. Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles is home to the most Energy Star Certified designated structures in the US. This certification requires that the structure use the most energy efficient lighting, heating, and air-conditioning technologies.
6. New York, NY – New York City emits the second lowest greenhouse gas pollution per capita.
5. Austin, TX – Austin is ranked second by the EPA for its investment in renewable energy with over 244 kilowatt hours of wind-generated electricity purchased in 2011.
4. Houston, TX – The EPA ranks Houston #1 for its investment in renewable energy sources.
3. Philadelphia, PA – Philly comes is ranked third by the Urban Land Institute for its lack of greenhouse gas pollution per capita. Contributing qualities of these cities include effective public transport and reduced urban sprawl.
2. San Francisco, CA – According to the Urban Land Institute, San Francisco has the lowest greenhouse gas pollution per capita of any large US city.
1. Washington D.C. – Ranked fourth by the EPA for its investment in renewable energy and second for the number of Energy Star Certified structures, Washington D.C. is our #1 most environmentally friendly city in the U.S. and demonstrates a continuing commitment to environmentally friendly development.
What other factors do you believe are vital in making a certain city more or less environmentally friendly? Please share in the comments below.
Also, check out a recent blog and infographic on other US cities that are going green.