We took you on a journey from the Pacific Northwest to the Bay Area and on to America's heartland in Texas. This time, we'll continue to snake our way across the nation from Texas up to the Great Lakes and on into New England where we'll end our tour of the greenest cities in the U.S.
Chicago implemented an aggressive sustainability plan with goals set for 2015. The plan includes 24 specific goals in seven different categories with actions for achieving the goals. With such a comprehensive list, we can't dive into all of it here, but we can give you some highlights:
To facilitate economic development and job creation, Chicago will increase investment and research in clean technologies, begin using a smart grid and clean energy applications, adopt a green procurement policy and increase demand for green products.
To create an additional 20 MW of renewable energy (in support of the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard, RPS), Chicago will install 10 MW of renewable energy on city properties in addition to the 10 MW of solar power already installed on private property, reduce the permitting time for new solar installments and work with the state government and energy partners to assist in achieving the Illinois RPS goals.
Chicago wants to give bikeable cities like Portland and Minneapolis a run for their money by adding 100 miles of bikeways and a bike-sharing system with 4,000 bicycles available at 400 stations.
When the scientific community suggested that the best way to avoid the largest impacts of climate change would be for the world to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050, the city of Cambridge said, "OK!" Cambridge has set the same goal for itself and is in the process of creating interim goals to be achieved by 2020 under its Climate Protection Plan. To reach the goal of reducing GHG emissions 80% by 2050, the Cambridge Climate Protection Plan calls for energy efficient buildings; reliance on bicycling, walking and public transit; all renewable and non-fossil fuel energy sources; and an increase in green space to reduce the "heat island" effect in urban areas.
Getting around in Cambridge is pretty easy. Already, Cambridge is considered one of the best walking cities in America. Plus, public transportation is readily accessible and many public transit systems run on B20 biodiesel or electric power.
Take the B20-powered bus from Cambridge and head on over to Boston for the final stop on our American Green Cities Tour.
Boston shares the goal of reducing GHG emissions 80% by 2050 with an interim goal of 25% by 2020. The city is reducing energy consumption through efficiency measures, such as upgrading street lamps to LED lights, encouraging residents to participate in Earth Hour and Lights Out Boston and greening the city government's information technology system. Boston is also turning to renewable energy sources to cut down on GHG emissions. Renew Boston is a program that helps residents make energy-efficient home improvements at no or low cost. Renew Boston Solar encourages the widespread adoption of solar energy technologies through streamlining permitting processes, installation and financing.
Boston's transportation landscape is also changing. EVboston promotes electric vehicle use by strategically placing on-street EV charging stations throughout the city. Boston encourages biking through the Boston Bikes initiative. Plus, the city is revamping its fleet with a retrofit of school buses to reduce tailpipe emissions by 90% and running 450 diesel vehicles on a biodiesel/low-sulfur blended fuel.