Cities across America are taking initiative to improve green infrastructure and encourage residents to lead environmentally-conscious lifestyles, and some are truly leading the pack. To find the most earth-friendly cities in America, we turned to a variety of rankings, from Siemens to a study by NerdWallet, and noticed a few cities that kept popping up. Read on to see what consistently places these cities in the top rankings for greenest American cities.
It’s no surprise that the nation’s capital is also a leader in green initiatives, appearing in the top 10 of most rankings of eco-friendly American cities. The city is home to DC VegFest, an annual celebration for vegetarians and vegans; restaurants serving up organic and sustainable foods; and plenty of shops selling eco-friendly goods such as sustainable bamboo kitchenware.
Other reasons why Washington, D.C. is a leading green city:
Portland, Oregon’s largest city, has gained a reputation for being focused on reconnecting with nature and promoting sustainable eating, and with that, a reputation as one of the greenest cities in America. The city consistently receives high ratings for air and water quality, and in 2008, Portland recycled 56.8% of all waste generated.
Here are a few more reasons why Portland is one of the first cities that spring to mind at the mention of “green city”.
San Francisco has long been at the forefront for green initiatives among large U.S. cities. In 2009, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require that all residents and businesses separate waste and compost material from normal trash. The city was the first in America to ban plastic bags.
With nearly 30,000 people per square mile, New York City is by far the most densely populated city in the U.S., and probably not the average person’s first thought associated with “eco-friendly city”. But population density and smart use of space lends itself to many environmentally friendly advantages, such as heavy use of mass transit, energy and water efficiency, and limited waste – all coming together to lower the average New Yorker’s carbon footprint.
Also known as the “Emerald City,” Seattle lives up to this name by setting the bar for green buildings and energy efficiency. Seattle’s publicly owned utility, Seattle City Light, was the first electric utility in the nation to become carbon neutral, and the city has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Seattle is home to the world’s greenest commercial building, the Bullit Center, and more than 20 other certified green buildings.