Popular Science published a list of America’s 50 Greenest Cities, using a scoring method that assigned numerical values to categories such as electricity, transportation, green living and recycling. According to its calculations, Portland, Oregon is the greenest city in America, scoring big in areas of energy, transportation and green living.
Portland gets half of its generated energy by renewable resources and a quarter of the city’s workforce carpools, rides the bus or rides their bike to work. The city also has a higher than average amount of LEED® certified buildings, meaning the U.S. Green Building Council has recognized the buildings as exceptional in terms of Energy and Environmental Design.
Other cities that made the top of the list have come up with some interesting ways to go green. The city of Boston, Massachusetts for example, has thought up a way to put all the fallen leaves that a New England fall creates to good use. The city uses the methane generated by the anaerobic bacteria feeding on the organic waste to power upwards of 1.5 megawatts’ worth of generators. In addition to energy harvesting, the compost created by the breakdown of the leaves is used to enrich the city’s soil.
Another example is Oakland, California. Oakland has turned its transit system into a fleet powered by hydrogen-based energy – meaning zero emission buses driving down its city streets instead of the toxic, petroleum-based buses too many cities still use.
Here is a list of the top 10 cities in order of “greenness” according to the website’s scores:
1. Portland, Ore. 23.1
2. San Francisco, Calif. 23.0
3. Boston, Mass. 22.7
4. Oakland, Calif. 22.5
5. Eugene, Ore. 22.4
6. Cambridge, Mass. 22.2
7. Berkeley, Calif. 22.2
8. Seattle, Wash. 22.1
9. Chicago, Ill. 21.3
10. Austin, Tex. 21.0
It’s encouraging to see big cities take steps toward a greener, healthier world. If more cities start getting on the “green” bandwagon, there is the very real possibility that some of the devastating effects of pollution and toxic waste might be reversed and we can begin healing our world and our environment.
Visit the Popular Science website to read the full list of the Top 50 Green Cities and see how your city ranks.