In honor of Earth Day 2021, Rocket Homes® partnered with BestPlaces.net to recognize the country’s most eco-friendly cities and appreciate the initiatives they’ve created to reduce their carbon footprint and try to reverse the effects of global warming. Take a look at the 15 most sustainable cities that are leading the effort to preserve our planet for generations to come.
Finding The Most Sustainable Cities In The US
The researchers at BestPlaces.net used the following metrics to determine the rankings for the most sustainable cities in the U.S.:
- Percent of state power used from renewable sources
- Square feet of LEED buildings per capita
- Square feet of green space per capita
- Percent of commuters who use energy-efficient transportation
- Average number of vehicles per household
- Electric vehicles per capita
- State composting laws
- State beverage container deposit laws
- Battery recycling legislation and state ranking of batteries recycled per capita
15. Phoenix, Arizona
- Metro population: 4,948,203
- Percent of renewable energy: 12%
- Square feet of green space per person: 970.9
- Percent of energy-efficient commuters: 11.3%
According to research conducted by Climate Central, the country’s fifth-largest city is one of the fastest-warming cities in the U.S. Given its desert location and the fact that the city receives just 7.5 inches of rain each year, water scarcity is a growing concern for Phoenix. However, aggressive sustainability efforts driven by the local government have helped land the city on our list. Phoenix ranks in the top 5% of the country for amount of green space per capita and is currently working to increase tree coverage 25% by 2030.
14. Honolulu, Hawaii
- Metro population: 974,563
- Percent of renewable energy: 10.6%
- Square feet of green space per person: 321.8
- Percent of energy-efficient commuters: 18.6%
Honolulu has been working to increase its carbon-free transportation options. The city’s bikeshare program is among the most used in the country, and the city ranks in the top 15% of the country for the number of all-electric vehicle registrations per capita. Thanks to the city’s ongoing efforts, which include the future development of a Carbon-Free Corridor, the city currently ranks in the top 20% for green commuters.
13. San Bernardino, California
- Metro population: 4,650,631
- Percent of renewable energy: 14.5%
- Square feet of green space per person: 401.5
- Percent of energy-efficient commuters: 8.3%
San Bernardino may rank in the top 25% of the country for the percentage of power they use from renewable sources, but the city is still working to improve and further contribute to conserving the nation’s natural resources. Just 5 miles west, the Rialto Bioenergy Facility is being built. It will convert hundreds of tons of food and organic waste into renewable energy and fertilizer each day and promises to be the largest of its kind on the continent.
12. New York, New York
- Metro population: 14,172,514
- Percent of renewable energy: 12.7%
- Square feet of green space per person: 111.9
- Percent of energy-efficient commuters: 52.8%
New York City may not be the largest city by square miles, but the densely packed urban jungle is the largest with regard to population. And, big cities make for big savings when it comes to the consumption of our natural resources. The city’s compactness, walkability and access to efficient public transportation puts New York in the bottom 1% of the country for vehicle ownership and the top 1% for commuters who use energy-efficient means of transportation.