What constitutes an environmentally friendly city? Several surveys have been conducted and here are some of the points that they have looked at:
- Green spaces
- Use of renewable energy sources
- High use of public transport
- Cycle tracks
- Walking friendly
- Recycling standards
- Most energy efficient buildings
While different studies came out with different results, there were some cities that feature in more than one list. All the cities surveyed had a population of over 10,000 residents. Here is a mention of some of the top ranking environmentally friendly cities in the United States of America and a little bit on how they got the honor.
The most environmentally friendly cities
Honolulu: It should come as no surprise that the capital of Hawaii is a top ranker. Its remote location, greenery, and beaches all point to this city being a green city to live in. But what makes Honolulu even more environmentally friendly is its extensive use of solar energy. Because of its adoption of a renewable source of energy, the air quality of Honolulu is superior to most other cities, making it one of the most livable cities in the country.
New York City: While this might come as a surprise to some, New York City actually ranks quite well on being environmentally friendly. The main reason for this is the high use of public transport as opposed to people driving. New York’s Central Park also adds to the greenery of the city contributing to it being more environmentally friendly.
San Francisco: With mandatory composting and recycling, San Francisco has managed to gain a top spot as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the US. The city’s excellent public transport system and the high number of energy-efficient buildings also contributed to it being more environmentally friendly.
Washington DC: Washington DC has the most number of green, healthy buildings per capita, in the whole country. The city has set a target for 20% more energy efficiency across buildings by 2020. DC aims to plant 6,400 trees over the next year in an attempt to increase its green cover. Using renewable sources of energy, encouraging biking and public transport, and efforts to expand urban farming have all helped Washington DC to rank among one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the US.
Boston: Boston ranks as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the country because of all the initiatives the city has taken. The extensive Hubway bike system and shopping bags made of canvas are helping the city be greener. Boston also makes use of solar powered decomposing trash cans. The city was one of the first to implement the LEED protocol for all its new buildings. Boston aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the year 2020.
Los Angeles: With 214,000 acres of vast open natural spaces and 22 miles of beaches, Los Angeles is a naturally green and beautiful city. The city also ranks among the top ten in the country for use of public transport. Los Angeles boasts the highest solid waste recycling rate and gets 14% of its energy from renewable sources like solar and wind. The Los Angeles Convention Center is the largest solar-generating building in North America.
Portland, Oregon: Having developed 92,000 acres of green spaces, Portland, Oregon is working hard towards being an environmentally friendly city. Portland has succeeded in encouraging walking and biking so much that it has the highest rate of people biking to work. The city uses a lot of renewable electricity, mostly hydroelectricity. All new constructions in Portland are required to follow the guidelines laid out by the US Green Building Council. The city recycles over 60% of its solid waste.