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Greenest Cities in North America Revealed

Central Park – New York City

A new survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Siemens Corporation has rated San Francisco, Vancouver, New York City, Seattle and Denver as the top five greenest cities in North America.

San Francisco has been ranked first in this survey due to its well documented environmental policies. The city recycles a wide range of different materials every year. Unlike other U.S. cities, San Francisco has put regulations in place to achieve its recycling goals. In 2009, the city asked its residents to separate recyclable material from waste by using curbside containers. The results of this campaign were significant, and total recycling went up to 77%.

Carbon dioxide emission is one of Vancouver’s strongest categories in the index. According to the index, the city emits just 4.2 tons of CO2 per person. These low emissions have resulted from its policies geared toward green energy promotion. Moreover, officials are in the process of reducing CO2 emissions by 33% by 2020.

New York is the index leader in land, thanks to its high density and high proportion of green space. The city has been working on the MillionTreesNYC project which, as the name suggests, aims to plant and care for a million trees. New York is the most densely populated city in the index. Yet, the city has managed to maintain and develop green space, most notably Central Park.

Seattle ranks fourth overall in the index. The strongest category of Seattle is its buildings. Seattle has recently launched its Community Power Works Program that aims to retrofit about 15% of buildings including houses, apartments, restaurants, stores and cold storage facilities.

Denver’s strongest categories include energy and environmental governance. The city has taken a proactive approach on managing energy consumption. Denver is one of only three cities in the index that has scored full marks for clean and efficient energy policies.

Here is the list of cities in the study, ranked in order of environmental performance. How does your city stack up, if you live in one of these?

1. San Francisco, 83.8
2. Vancouver, 81.3
3. New York City, 79.2
4. Seattle, 79.1
5. Denver, 73.5
6. Boston, 72.6
7. Los Angeles, 72.5
8. Washington, D.C., 71.4
9. Toronto, 68.4
10. Minneapolis, 67.7
11. Chicago, 66.9
12. Ottawa, 66.8
13. Philadelphia, 66.7
14. Calgary, 64.8
15. Sacramento, 63.7
16. Houston, 62.6
17. Dallas, 62.3
18. Orlando, 61.1
19. Montreal, 59.8
20. Charlotte, 59.0
21. Atlanta, 57.8
22. MIami, 57.3
23. Pittsburgh, 56.6
24. Phoenix, 55.4
25. Cleveland, 39.7
26. St. Louis, 35.1
27. Detroit, 28.4

Via Greenbiz
Image CC licensed by dougtone: Central Park, New York City

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