Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is the Greenest City in the United States?

Popsci.com recently ran a story about the greenest cities in the USA.  It probably won't surprise you what the greenest city in the United States is but before I tell you which one it is, let me tell you how they came up with the rankings:

They used raw data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide, which collected survey data and government statistics for American cities of over 100,000 people in more than 30 categories, including air quality, electricity use and transportation habits. They then compiled these statistics into four broad categories, each scored out of either 5 or 10 possible points. The sum of these four scores determines a city’s place in the rankings. Their categories are:
  • Electricity (E; 10 points): Cities score points for drawing their energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power, as well as for offering incentives for residents to invest in their own power sources, like roof-mounted solar panels.
  • Transportation (T; 10 points): High scores go to cities whose commuters take public transportation or carpool. Air quality also plays a role.
  • Green living (G; 5 points): Cities earn points for the number of buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as for devoting area to green space, such as public parks and nature preserves.
  • Recycling and green perspective (R; 5 points): This measures how comprehensive a city’s recycling program is (if the city collects old electronics, for example) and how important its citizens consider environmental issues.
With this in mind, the greenest city in the USA is: (DRUMROLL PLEASE)

Portland, Oregon
Here is what Popsci says about it. 

1. Portland, Ore. 23.1

  • Electricity: 7.1 Transportation: 6.4 Green Living: 4.8 Recycling/Perspective: 4.8
America’s top green city has it all: Half its power comes from renewable sources, a quarter of the workforce commutes by bike, carpool or public transportation, and it has 35 buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.