There are many different ways that a city can be green: by the number of LEED certified commercial buildings it has, the various types of sustainable transportation it promotes, or by the way it uses energy. As it estimated that three-fourths of the worldâ€™s population will live in cities by 2050, we can expect strained resources, traffic congestion and more pollution in the future. Unless we change the way our cities function. For global warming caused by human activities to be reversed, it is crucial that capital cities lead the way to a greener, more sustainable way of living. In the US, 22 cities, from small to large, have been named â€œ2010 Smarter Citiesâ€ for their investment in energy conservation, green power and green energy efficiency. Is your city one of them?
Greenest Cities In 'Smart' Energy Use
Since half of all the electricity produced in the U.S. is derived from dirty coal, the burning of which releases heat-trapping pollutants, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other health-threatening smog pollutants, focusing on clean energy and energy conservation is a priority to reverse the trajectory of global warming. Smarter Cities is a project of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that collects and analyzes data, with the help of various environmental advisers and experts. The goal is not only to identify the current "smarter" green cities, but to also encourage other cities to follow suit. As part of their research, they sent a survey to 655 cities, drawn from a database of all United States municipalities with populations greater than 50,000 available on the U.S Conference of Mayors website. The outcome is that twenty-two cities are leading the way toward a clean, green, more efficient energy future, as they are putting in place best practices, testing innovative new programs, passing model legislation and more. These "smarter" cities are listed below alphabetically and by size. You can click on any city to have a detailed story of what it is doing to be greener and smarter in its energy use.
|Largest Green Cities
||Medium Greenest Cities
||Smallest Greenest Cities
||Long Beach, CA
||New York, NY
||Fort Collins, CO
||Huntington Beach, CA
||Santa Cruz, CA
||San Francisco, CA
|El Paso, TX
||Santa Clarita, CA
Top Greenest US Cities by smarter energy use, leading the way toward a clean, green, more efficient energy future.
It might seem surprising for some of these cities to be among the greenest, such as Austin, capital of Oil State Texas. Although its three major energy sources for electricity are coal, nuclear power and natural gas, the municipality currently obtains 11 percent of its energy from wind power, and is almost half way through its goal of 30 percent renewable by 2020. After California, Texas has the greatest number of â€œsmarter citiesâ€ and its output of wind energy is over twice that of the next highest US producer, Iowa.
Seeing a Rust Belt City like Columbus, OH, in the list might be another surprise. This Midwestern municipality is actually committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030, at the rate of 2% annually. Energy-efficiency there has become a money-saving goal and is synonymous of increased quality of life. Energy-efficient housing is developing there too, as exemplified by the Greenview Estates, a housing development that groups 30 single-family homes with top-notch insulation, indoor air filtration, Energy Star appliances and more.
More Green & Sustainable Cities
Besides green energy, the NRDCâ€™s Smarter Cities team has planned to review other sustainability factors such as transportation, water, green building, environmental justice, waste prevention and air quality, 12 research projects total that will indicate which cities are leaders in green incentives, best practices and model programs. Their site is a great tool to locate local goods and services that make all of us and our communities smarter, and to help us be more involved with our cityâ€™s efforts to be green and sustainable!
JustLiveGreener brings you in depth-information about environmental issues as well as tips for a greener, more eco-friendly way of living that respects nature while enhancing quality of life.