The Most Eco-Conscious Cities in The U.S.

The United States represents only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet contributes more than 30 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As growth in urbanization has continued to increase globally, the goal of sustainability has become a mainstream effort within city planning departments. Many U.S. cities have started to implement strategies to become more environmentally conscious, such as transitioning to renewable energy and the consideration of a carbon tax.

Cities such as New York and Los Angeles have announced admirable goals to reduce carbon emissions and invest heavily in renewable energy infrastructure. Within these cities, the rising population density will increase the need for efficiency in transportation, energy, water and waste. We decided to find out which cities in America are currently leading the nation in the transition to sustainable practices.






Top 10 Most Eco-Conscious Cities

1. New York City, NY

New York City won the most eco-conscious city with the highest park score, walk score, organic grocery score and farmers market score of the entire study. It also had the second greatest number of electric vehicle charging stations, with 209 charging stations across the state.

In 2014, New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. State level initiatives have kept the municipalities on pace to achieve a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

Efforts such as the Clean Energy Standard mandate that utility companies in New York use renewable energy sources for no less than 50 percent of the electricity consumed. New York City has also tripled its solar energy installations since 2014, as well as committed to adding two thousand electric vehicles to its fleet by 2025.

2. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles’ average annual carbon footprint of 34.1 tons of CO2 per household is the lowest of the top 10 cities. It also has 294 electric vehicle charging stations, the most of the entire study. Compared to other cities with populations over one million, it’s also the most water-efficient and has the highest recycling rate.

Mayor Garcetti created the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and has appointed the city’s first ever Chief Sustainability Officer. He also co-created the Mayor’s National Climate Action Agenda with the goal of leading other cities to take action to become more sustainable.

Infamous for a poor public transit system, L.A. is currently undergoing the largest public transportation infrastructure overhaul in the U.S., with more than $40 billion being invested to expand the rail and bus systems.

3. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco has a bike score of 75 and walk score of 86, the highest and second highest of the study respectively. Its 211 organic grocery store count also came in second only to New York City.

Despite being a self-proclaimed “green city”, the tree canopy (or the percentage of the city composed of trees when photographed from above) in San Francisco is a mere 13.7 percent. The Urban Forestation project aims to utilize the empty rooftops with “living roofs”, or vegetation grown to utilize rainwater and unused space. The city also has an initiative to improve road conditions and pedestrian safety thus encouraging more walking or biking.

The goal of the city’s Green Connections project, as the name suggests, is to connect park space with 24 safe pathways. This will end up totaling 115 miles of streets conducive to emission free transportation.

4. San Diego, CA

With 185 electric vehicle charging stations and a low annual household carbon footprint of 41.7 tons of CO2, San Diego ranks the fourth most eco-conscious city in the country. San Diego residents’ commute distance is also about a mile less than the top 10 average commute distance.

Being a coastal city, San Diego has placed a lot of focus on initiatives to protect water quality, such as the Think Blue campaign to prevent stormwater pollution and the Green Port initiative. Building two new water reclamation plants to treat wastewater, San Diego aims to reduce its dependency on imported water. It also has announced goals to reach 100 percent use of renewable energy citywide by 2035, since electricity accounts for 25 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions.

With city planning officials eager to increase the foot traffic across the city, they created the Pedestrian Improvement Toolbox. This is an initiative to add new crosswalks and pedestrian bridges designed to increase safety.

5. Chicago, IL

Despite having an average commute distance of 10 miles which is above the top 10 average, Chicago ranks highly in the walk score, park score and recycling score, pushing it into fifth place overall.

By 2010, Chicago had achieved 22 percent of its 2020 goal to reduce emissions from municipal buildings by 10 percent. Energy use in buildings constitutes 71 percent of the city’s carbon emissions. With the implementation of its “Divvy for Everyone” initiative, one of the largest bike share equity programs, Chicago has risen to the second most bike friendly city.

Divvy for Everyone stands out as a great option for low income commuters, because for only $5 annually you can access any of its bikes around the city and if returned to any dock within a half hour there is no additional usage fee.

6. Seattle, WA

Although Seattle has only 32 recycling centers, it has a respectable carbon footprint of 42.9 tons of CO2 per household annually. It also has a walk score of 73 which is surprisingly high when you consider its nickname is “the city of rain”. Despite a population that has grown by 13 percent, in 2014 total greenhouse gas emissions from road transportation, building energy and waste had declined by 6 percent.

Seattle has called for a combined reduction of emissions by 64 percent from 2008 levels. These goals have been met with an increase in energy efficient cars, improvements in building energy performance and more residents living in multi-family homes that are less energy intensive. Seattle will need to reach average annual reductions of 4.5 percent between 2008 and 2030 in order to achieve its goal.

7. Austin, TX

Despite having an annual carbon footprint of 48.4 tons of CO2 per household, the highest within the top 10, Austin has shown eagerness to become more sustainable.

With the adoption of its resource recovery master plan, the city has committed to zero waste by 2040, which would be achieved with a 90 percent reduction in the waste sent to landfills.

Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program has led to 100 percent renewable energy powering of city facilities, which helped avoid 163,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2011. The continued implementation of 28 building plans has resulted in a 42 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as of 2011 (measuring against a 2007 baseline).

8. Atlanta, GA

Although not ranked the highest for overall quantity, Atlanta ranked the highest in recycling centers and electric vehicle charging stations per capita.

Atlanta has been actively encouraging sustainability practices through the Better Buildings Challenge. The city hosts an annual expo event to connect participants and service providers, as well as highlight new innovations. The initiative has resulted in a 17 percent reduction of energy usage and 20 percent water consumption reduction.

The EPA has awarded Atlanta’s Better Buildings Challenge a Climate Leadership Award. The program has also produced a model to guide other cities to implement its formula for success.

9. Portland, OR

Of the top 10, Portland has the shortest commute of only 7.1 miles and a bike score of 72, the second highest. Unfortunately, of the top 10 it has the least number of electric vehicle charging stations and the fourth highest carbon footprint.

Since 1990, Portland has seen a 31 percent increase in population and a 20 percent increase in jobs, yet total carbon emissions have fallen 14 percent. The city committed to a climate action plan in 2009 which outlines a 40 percent reduction by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Initiatives such as the eco-roofs, solar energy installations and recycling are positively contributing to the city’s goals. The city currently has over 390 eco-roofs which cover 20 acres of rooftop and manage millions of gallons of stormwater annually.

Portland is also the national leader in recycling with over 70 percent overall recycling rates. Also, at nine times the national average, about 6 percent of Portland bikes to work.

10. Houston, TX

With 127 recycling centers, Houston ranks the second highest in the number of recycling centers across the entire study.

The EPA’s Green Power Partnership has recognized Houston as the leading municipal purchaser of green power in the nation. Houston has many exciting initiatives to become a more sustainable city. For instance, the Million Trees initiative has set the commendable goal to plant one million trees in three to five years.

The city has launched a campaign to increase electric vehicle adoption by installing more charging stations and offer 24 hour permitting for residential charging stations. In 2013, Houston won a Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge for the one bin for all program which allows for all waste to be disposed in one receptacle and using innovative new technology that actually increases recycling. The city also has initiatives to increase green space, improve streets, and bike sharing.

NYC scored highest in park, walk, organic grocery and farmer’s markets. Los Angeles has the lowest carbon footprint per household of the top 10 cities. San Francisco has the highest bike score and second highest walk score of the top 10. Atlanta has the most recycling centers and EV charging stations per capita. Portland has the shortest commute of the top 10. Houston has the second highest amount of recycling centers of the entire study.

All Cities Included in the Study

Rank City State Total Score Park Score Walk Score Bike Score Carbon Footprint Est Electric Vehicle Charing Stations Recycling Centers Organic Groceries Farmers Markets Commute Distance
1 New York NY 93.4 86.5 89 65 36.6 209 102 730 185 7.7
2 Los Angeles CA 86.9 82.5 66 56 34.1 294 156 158 135 8.8
3 San Francisco CA 62.5 81 86 75 39.5 169 26 211 85 8
4 San Diego CA 55.2 76.5 50 46 41.7 185 70 134 85 8.5
5 Chicago IL 54.9 77.5 78 70 43.5 123 84 167 64 10
6 Seattle WA 48.2 76 73 63 42.9 131 32 125 41 9
7 Austin TX 47.6 74 39 52 48.4 177 48 85 57 8.6
8 Atlanta GA 45 71 48 50 46 172 35 59 30 12.8
9 Portland OR 44.6 75 64 72 44 100 48 104 61 7.1
10 Houston TX 43.6 72.5 48 49 45.5 103 127 104 33 12.2
11 Washington D.C. 41.2 72.5 77 69 39.7 94 12 63 52 9.1
12 Baltimore MD 38.3 65 69 56 40.5 109 23 28 27 8.6
13 Boston MA 37.6 66.5 81 70 37.2 75 12 28 23 0
14 Sacramento CA 37.2 69 46 69 39.4 82 56 55 36 8
15 San Jose CA 36.9 70 50 57 51.6 99 56 78 32 6.4
16 Philadelphia PA 36.8 71.5 78 68 38.9 46 35 87 56 7.8
17 Honolulu HI 36.7 68.5 63 45 40.5 101 26 28 72 6.6
18 Phoenix AZ 36.5 67.5 40 54 44.4 103 70 51 29 11.4
19 Orlando FL 34 64 41 53 43.6 113 24 42 31 9.1
20 Denver CO 33.5 66.5 60 71 46.7 67 38 43 29 8.5
21 Minneapolis MN 31.3 64 68 81 51.3 56 19 35 24 9.5
22 Dallas TX 31.2 62.5 45 44 43.9 88 50 60 16 12.2
23 Irvine CA 31.1 62.5 43 70 49.2 88 19 23 14 0
24 Las Vegas NV 30.8 65 40 52 41.7 85 22 72 27 7.2
25 Kansas City MO 30.6 61.5 34 40 49.5 132 19 18 10 8.9
26 Oakland CA 30.4 64 72 61 38.5 38 26 55 33 8
27 Miami FL 29.8 61 78 60 43.6 45 39 2 22 8.6
28 Long Beach CA 28.5 61.5 69 66 37.5 34 19 34 26 8.8
29 Tucson AZ 27.4 61.5 41 68 44.7 54 28 44 29 7.3
30 Tampa FL 26.2 61.5 49 53 41.5 52 29 31 27 8.5
31 Pasadena CA 25.4 50 66 72 40.7 32 6 22 12 0
32 Jersey City NJ 24.9 57.5 87 66 39.2 10 8 18 10 7.7
33 Pittsburgh PA 24.1 59 61 40 42.5 50 21 28 15 8.1
34 Salt Lake City UT 23.9 48.5 56 69 46.9 43 19 18 9 6.5
35 San Antonio TX 23.7 61 36 42 45.7 62 34 37 27 8.8
36 Madison WI 23.4 61 48 73 46.3 31 13 38 10 6.8
37 Providence RI 23.2 43.5 78 67 39.3 19 5 8 5 0
38 Nashville-Davidson TN 22.9 61 28 33 45.3 74 34 39 26 11
39 Anaheim CA 21.7 55 53 52 43.1 33 27 20 15 8.8
40 Detroit MI 21.7 51.5 55 55 44.5 40 19 12 11 10.4
41 Buffalo NY 21.7 55 67 54 39.7 16 17 19 16 6.5
42 Columbus OH 21.3 59 40 47 44.8 38 31 44 24 8.6
43 St. Louis MO 21 59 64 57 47.5 12 29 32 12 10
44 Rochester NY 20.7 44 64 59 41.7 20 19 16 14 7.4
45 Tempe AZ 20.4 42.5 52 76 44.1 22 8 9 10 0
46 Santa Ana CA 20.4 51 65 57 43.5 8 31 10 5 0
47 New Orleans LA 20.3 54 57 60 38.2 12 12 23 13 6.2
48 Hartford CT 20.3 36.5 71 62 35.8 19 3 2 5 7.3
49 Newark NJ 19.9 46.5 80 51 36.6 6 15 3 0 7.7
50 Eugene OR 19.9 43.5 44 74 40.9 21 8 24 8 0
51 Charlotte NC 19.7 56.5 26 36 47.4 58 30 53 20 9.7
52 Fremont CA 19.6 55 44 61 53.6 34 19 19 7 0
53 Cincinnati OH 19.4 60 50 37 47.2 33 24 33 29 8.7
54 Tacoma WA 19.1 41 53 49 42.9 36 22 12 7 9
55 Fort Lauderdale FL 19 41 58 54 43.5 28 18 12 9 8.6
56 Cleveland OH 18.8 52.5 59 51 43.2 9 30 18 16 7.8
57 Fresno CA 18.8 48.5 45 56 38.7 14 31 20 11 5.6
58 Albuquerque NM 18.4 57.5 42 60 45.8 17 16 27 23 6.7
59 Riverside CA 18.3 50 41 50 44.3 36 20 14 12 9.1
60 St. Paul MN 18.3 55 58 62 53.1 19 12 17 6 9.5
61 New Haven CT 17.9 35 68 59 37.9 11 4 7 4 5
62 Fort Collins CO 17.7 38.5 36 80 50.7 29 6 9 11 0
63 Raleigh NC 17.3 51.5 30 41 47.6 56 9 21 14 8.5
64 Salem OR 17.2 37.5 40 58 43.9 34 8 11 12 0
65 Alexandria VA 17 34 61 66 50.4 25 2 10 4 9.1
66 Jacksonville FL 16.8 49 26 39 43.1 46 20 31 20 9.1
67 Reno NV 16.1 46.5 37 48 44 31 7 22 8 0
68 Stockton CA 15.9 45 41 54 40.2 12 22 12 11 4.7
69 St. Petersburg FL 15.6 48.5 42 56 39 9 14 16 4 8.5
70 Lincoln NE 15.3 48.5 42 62 51.5 14 15 9 3 0
71 Boise City ID 15.2 45 39 63 47.1 19 6 12 8 6
72 Indianapolis IN 14.7 43.5 29 41 47.6 41 20 19 17 9.2
73 Bakersfield CA 14.6 47.5 36 48 41.3 8 27 24 15 5.6
74 Mesa AZ 14.5 42.5 36 58 43.8 17 13 19 12 11.4
75 Modesto CA 14.5 34 45 56 42 8 16 16 11 0
76 Aurora CO 13.9 46.5 42 61 52.1 16 8 11 5 8.5
77 Louisville/Jefferson KY 13.6 46.5 33 43 49.5 18 32 30 18 7.6
78 Chula Vista CA 13.6 41 41 46 41.8 16 9 12 3 0
79 Grand Rapids MI 13.5 28.5 55 55 50.3 16 12 9 9 7.2
80 Plano TX 13.2 47.5 39 57 61.1 25 5 16 7 0
81 Colorado Springs CO 13.1 46.5 35 46 51.4 19 25 20 8 5.9
82 Fort Worth TX 12.9 45 34 40 45.9 16 30 28 14 12.2
83 Durham NC 12.3 42.5 28 39 43.9 28 7 15 9 0
84 Memphis TN 11.5 40 36 42 47 18 14 12 18 8.9
85 Omaha NE 11.3 45 45 41 53.7 6 25 20 9 6
86 Toledo OH 11.1 35 45 45 44.7 10 8 5 5 6
87 Glendale AZ 11.1 38.5 40 51 49.4 9 6 11 4 0
88 Virginia Beach VA 10.8 44 33 46 49.1 14 3 25 18 7.6
89 Baton Rouge LA 10.4 30 40 47 43.7 12 9 6 5 8
90 Syracuse NY 10.3 0 60 49 38.9 8 11 5 2 6.5
91 Columbus GA 10 33.5 40 47 45.5 6 8 5 0 0
92 Tulsa OK 9.9 37.5 39 44 48.3 7 14 16 9 8
93 Milwaukee WI 9.9 45 61 0 45.4 11 20 22 22 7.4
94 Henderson NV 9.9 41 29 52 47.9 12 0 18 7 7.2
95 Richmond VA 9.7 43.5 52 0 46.8 22 21 27 17 8.7
96 Lexington-Fayette KY 9.1 36 34 44 48.1 8 6 13 8 0
97 Garland TX 9 33.5 39 39 50.4 15 5 8 4 0
98 Spokane WA 8.9 0 48 49 44.2 17 4 17 10 5.6
99 Savannah GA 7.9 0 42 48 46.5 18 8 11 2 0
100 Lakewood CO 7.7 0 42 0 0 9 5 8 3 8.5
101 Wichita KS 7.6 29 34 44 51.1 5 22 9 3 6.7
102 North Las Vegas NV 7.4 30 33 42 44.9 3 9 2 0 0
103 San Bernardino CA 7.1 0 41 39 37.8 14 14 4 0 9.1
104 Chattanooga TN 7 0 29 30 44.1 43 11 4 4 7.5
105 Dayton OH 6.8 0 46 46 47.1 12 9 8 6 6.6
106 Hollywood FL 6.2 0 54 33 45.1 8 5 6 12 0
107 Hampton VA 5.9 0 32 0 0 5 3 2 2 0
108 Torrance CA 5.6 0 64 0 42.9 22 10 15 2 0
109 West Valley City UT 5.5 0 35 0 0 1 0 3 0 0
110 Pembroke Pines FL 5.3 0 31 0 0 3 0 7 0 0
111 Paterson NJ 4.9 0 80 0 39.9 0 10 0 3 0
112 Lubbock TX 4.9 0 37 47 43.3 2 4 8 3 0
113 Des Moines IA 4.9 0 44 45 47.7 4 9 6 3 6.4
114 Santa Rosa CA 4.6 0 43 0 45.1 37 5 25 15 0
115 Elizabeth NJ 4.1 0 80 0 40.6 1 0 2 0 0
116 Oklahoma City OK 3.8 0 32 40 48.1 8 19 11 9 8.6
117 Yonkers NY 3.8 0 71 0 41.7 4 9 6 0 0
118 Tallahassee FL 3.7 0 32 35 42.9 9 4 13 6 0
119 Arlington TX 3.7 0 36 43 49.1 13 4 8 4 12.2
120 Hayward CA 3.1 0 52 0 44.3 17 24 9 3 8
121 Gilbert town AZ 3 0 29 57 58.3 7 3 10 5 0
122 Knoxville TN 2.9 0 31 0 48 45 13 17 10 9.1
123 Huntington Beach CA 2.9 0 53 0 48.2 19 10 18 12 0
124 Orange CA 2.9 0 49 0 47.9 25 11 11 4 0
125 Overland Park KS 2.8 0 35 0 61.1 61 3 13 0 0
126 Scottsdale AZ 2.8 0 32 0 51.6 51 4 31 11 11.4
127 Sioux Falls SD 2.7 0 36 46 51.1 1 5 3 0 0
128 Birmingham AL 2.7 0 35 29 48.5 14 12 11 6 10.1
129 Worcester MA 2.7 0 56 0 41.2 9 11 4 5 0
130 Salinas CA 2.6 0 52 0 44.3 15 11 7 9 0
131 Bridgeport CT 2.5 0 68 0 41 3 5 0 2 5.4
132 Fort Wayne IN 2.4 0 29 43 51.2 7 7 6 3 0
133 Hialeah FL 2.1 0 69 0 42.1 0 0 4 0 0
134 Greensboro NC 2 0 29 40 44.5 6 1 1 2 6.9
135 Oxnard CA 1.9 0 53 0 44.9 16 5 10 8 5.3
136 Garden Grove CA 1.9 0 59 0 44.3 7 6 8 4 0
137 Sunnyvale CA 1.7 0 55 0 48.6 17 5 17 8 6.4
138 Fullerton CA 1.6 0 52 0 43.6 11 7 8 3 0
139 El Paso TX 1.5 0 40 0 45.8 22 19 12 2 7
140 Springfield MA 1.4 0 58 0 40.5 2 5 4 0 0
141 Ontario CA 1.2 0 44 0 43.3 19 10 4 7 9.1
142 Pomona CA 0.9 0 51 0 41.8 5 8 6 3 0
143 Vancouver WA 0.8 0 41 0 45.7 18 11 21 6 7.1
144 Escondido CA 0.8 0 42 0 43.7 12 9 12 11 0
145 Irving TX 0.6 0 43 0 45.1 17 5 6 2 0
146 Columbia SC 0.4 0 36 0 44.3 24 4 14 7 9
147 Norfolk VA 0.2 0 45 0 40.8 9 5 9 5 7.6
148 Winston-Salem NC 0.1 0 22 34 44 6 0 3 2 7.1
149 Akron OH -0.2 0 46 0 46.3 9 14 2 4 6.1
150 Chandler AZ -0.4 0 33 0 50.3 25 4 15 5 0
151 Corpus Christi TX -0.7 0 39 0 45.4 10 9 7 3 0
152 Lancaster CA -1 0 28 0 44.2 20 6 5 2 0
153 Oceanside CA -1.1 0 35 0 41.4 5 6 15 7 0
154 Rancho Cucamonga CA -1.5 0 38 0 50.3 13 7 7 5 0
155 Visalia CA -1.5 0 37 0 42.4 7 2 5 2 0
156 Springfield MO -1.6 0 38 0 53.8 15 9 12 4 0
157 Fontana CA -1.6 0 35 0 45.6 4 17 6 4 0
158 Corona CA -2 0 37 0 50.5 8 9 13 9 0
159 Little Rock AR -2 0 33 0 44 10 8 5 6 8.2
160 Pasadena TX -2.2 0 43 0 46.6 1 7 0 0 0
161 Newport News VA -2.2 0 35 0 43.3 11 0 2 2 7.6
162 Rockford IL -2.4 0 41 0 49.1 4 6 3 5 0
163 Waco TX -2.4 0 34 0 41.3 2 3 3 4 0
164 McAllen TX -2.4 0 41 0 45 5 0 3 3 6.4
165 Cedar Rapids IA -2.5 0 35 0 51.2 11 8 4 4 0
166 Warren MI -2.5 0 43 0 51.2 9 7 4 3 10.4
167 Brownsville TX -2.5 0 38 0 42.4 0 3 0 0 0
168 Shreveport LA -2.6 0 31 0 42 3 7 5 0 0
169 Laredo TX -2.7 0 40 0 44 1 0 0 0 0
170 Amarillo TX -2.7 0 38 0 46 3 4 2 0 0
171 Mobile AL -3.1 0 32 0 46.5 5 5 6 2 0
172 Palmdale CA -3.4 0 24 0 47.2 11 7 5 2 0
173 Anchorage AK -3.5 0 32 0 47.5 1 7 10 8 0
174 Aurora IL -3.5 0 40 0 54.3 4 6 5 5 0
175 Topeka KS -3.5 0 34 0 51.1 6 7 5 0 0
176 Moreno Valley CA -3.6 0 30 0 47.1 1 14 3 0 0
177 Jackson MS -3.6 0 27 0 44.6 6 11 4 3 8.7
178 Elk Grove CA -3.7 0 31 0 52.9 7 8 12 5 0
179 Fayetteville NC -3.8 0 20 0 43.5 9 3 6 4 0
180 Joliet IL -3.8 0 34 0 51.3 3 11 0 0 0
181 Mesquite TX -3.9 0 35 0 50.4 6 0 2 0 0
182 Thousand Oaks CA -3.9 0 32 0 53.9 13 2 9 4 5.3
183 Montgomery AL -4 0 26 0 46.6 3 10 3 3 0
184 Huntsville AL -4.1 0 23 0 48 6 8 7 9 0
185 Glendale CA -4.1 0 0 0 39.1 15 10 18 3 0
186 Olathe KS -4.2 0 28 0 61.7 25 0 5 2 0
187 Killeen TX -4.2 0 26 0 44.4 4 0 0 5 0
188 Peoria AZ -4.5 0 28 0 50.1 7 0 6 4 0
189 Augusta-Richmond GA -4.5 0 21 0 46.4 9 7 6 4 7
190 Grand Prairie TX -4.5 0 31 0 49.2 4 0 2 0 0
191 Cary NC -4.9 0 26 0 54.4 14 0 0 0 0
192 Santa Clarita CA -5.2 0 33 0 57.8 3 9 7 2 0
193 Kansas City KS -5.2 0 31 0 48.6 1 4 3 0 8.9
194 Chesapeake VA -5.5 0 21 0 53.2 6 9 8 4 0
195 Clarksville TN -5.6 0 17 0 48.2 4 7 6 5 0
196 Sterling Heights MI -6.2 0 31 0 57.6 1 6 2 0 0
197 Port St. Lucie FL -6.6 0 14 0 44.6 1 0 3 0 0
198 Cape Coral FL -6.9 0 18 0 45.6 0 0 0 3 7.3
199 Naperville IL -7.4 0 35 0 69.3 7 4 19 3 10
200 McKinney TX -7.4 0 24 0 58.2 2 0 6 4 0

Methodology

We studied the eco-consciousness efforts of the 201 most populated cities in America. We scored each city on nine aspects that indicate a discipline to environmental conservatism. Next, we weighed each aspect for its importance relating to environmental consciousness while accounting for the data source’s reliability.

The first area we evaluated was the city’s public park score and the conduciveness to walking or biking compared to carbon emitting forms of transportation. The park, walk and bike scores are measured out of a total score of 100, and assigned weights of 13 percent, 15 percent and 15 percent respectively. We also scored each city by the number of electric vehicle charging stations to determine the availability of alternative fuel sources. The number of electric vehicle charging stations was assigned a weight of 15 percent. We then measured the number of recycling centers to score the city’s efforts to reuse, recycle and reduce; we assigned the recycling efforts a weight of 8 percent. We also figured in the number of organic grocers and farmers markets which result in a reduction of waste and transportation. Obtaining the data on organic grocers and farmers markets from Yelp, we decided to give them a weight of 3 percent each.

Next we compiled the average carbon footprint in tons of CO2 per household in each city and gave it a weight of 20 percent. We found the average commute distance for each city, scoring this with a weight of 8 percent. Here was our full equation:

(park score*13%)+(walk score*15%)+(bike score*15%)+(EV charging stations*15%)+(recycling centers*8%)+(organic grocery*3%)+(farmers markets*3%)-(commute distance*8%)-(average carbon footprint*20%)

When calculating the final score per city, we summed the areas we believe have a positive impact on the eco-consciousness, and subtracted areas we felt have a negative impact. Positive eco-conscious areas include the park score, walk score, bike score, electric vehicle charging stations, recycling centers, organic grocers and farmers markets. We subtracted the commute distance and carbon footprint, as these scores have a negative impact on the environment.


Sources:


Providing resources such as water, energy and transportation efficiently for this growing population extends beyond the environmental imperative. With innovative minds working to solve problems that can help cities reach these audacious emission reducing goals, their efforts are sure to inspire more citizens, cities and countries to become more sustainable.

Energy consumption has steadily grown over the last hundred years combined with a stagnant energy infrastructure and dwindling supply of fossil fuels, this is far from the formula for sustainability.

With the widespread implementation of energy conservation practices, construction of a smarter grid and growth in clean and renewable energies, we are moving towards a solution of the sustainable formula. If you are searching for ways to improve your sustainability efforts and learn more about how to become more energy efficient, start with SaveOnEnergy.