You care about the carbon footprint left behind. You are mindful of cost-effectiveness. The idea of a city intentionally filled with green space, one in which financial incentives exist for energy efficient updates, is easy to embrace.
Thanks to years of alternative energy research coupled with green philosophy evolution, more and more American city leaders share your vision.
Proactive public officials view the utility of renewable energy as an opportunity or impetus for economic growth. Cities powered by clean energy save tax money, create jobs and foster a healthy lifestyle.
Several U.S. cities have intentionally committed to 100% renewable energy. Some have already achieved their goal.
The addition of parks, bike trails, vegetated walkways and public gardens beautifies existing city space. Greening adds healthy commuting options and naturally controls city climate. Cities which foster and maintain marked green space appeal to companies and individuals alike, ultimately adding overall vitality to the area.
Following is a list of seven cities which have successfully combined green living investment, policy and practice for the benefit of their lucky residents:
- Aspen, CO
Aspen already runs completely on renewable energy. Wind and water remain plentiful for efficient use in this distinctive Rocky Mountain town. Roaring Fork Transportation Authority provides free city bus service. The city’s bike-sharing system WE-CYCLE currently maintains 20 stations and 110 bikes.
Aspen is surrounded by mountains and wilderness on three sides. Legislation remains environmentally minded to protect this open space.
- San Diego, CA
With a population of over one million, this city emphasizes its commitment to sustainability specifically by focusing on future electric vehicle use.
Home to the largest U.S. number of farmer markets per capita, San Diego residents actively practice field-to-table.
Located along the Pacific coast, San Diego is known for its expansive beaches and natural deep-water harbor. The city is marked by approximately 150 deep canyons and hills. These pockets of green space naturally spread throughout the city.
- Burlington, VT
The first US city to completely run on sustainable energy, Burlington achieved its renewability goal in 2014. Located along the shores of Lake Champlain, this city currently runs 20% on wind-generated electricity. A large ravine in the downtown area filled with refuse provides landfill methane and biomass energy.
Burlington’s emphasis on green space earned it the title of one of the”prettiest” towns in America by Forbes magazine in 2010.
- San Antonio, TX
A rising solar energy superpower, San Antonio boasts more than 50 watts of installed solar PV — the conversion of light photons to electric voltage — per person.
San Antonio commuters employ a transit system comprised of buses that are powered by diesel-electric hybrid technology. Additionally, San Antonio maintains roughly 140 miles of bike paths which travel along city parks, the San Antonio River and spacial greenways.
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- Portland, OR
Portland is notable for its consistent public transportation and park system investment. The city currently holds a National “bike score” within this nation’s top five. A Trust for Public Land survey reveals that approximately 80% of Portland’s population lives within half a mile of a public park.
Noteworthy farm markets support active farm to table practice.
- Mesa, AZ
Mesa holds one of the lowest greenhouse-gas emissions per population capita, maintaining over 2,000 acres of parkland within its boundary.
Mesa’s distinctive Solar Pilot Program offers financial incentive for commercial and residential solar energy system installation. This city also runs a separate current “Sustainability Center” chock full of green lifestyle resources.
- Honolulu, HI
Honolulu is a literal hotbed of sustainability with record-low gas emissions and a record high green space percentage.
Thanks to its characteristic sunshine, Honolulu’s capability for energy efficiency remains the most cost-effective in this country. In 2013 Hawaii’s local government established “on-bill financing” to develop the Island’s solar energy technology. On-bill financing allows residents to pay for solar and other forms of clean energy projects directly on their utility bills in installments over time.
Honolulu’s numerous farm markets stand testament to this city’s mindful emphasis on local food production. With a year-round growing cycle and fertile volcanic soil, field to plate is inevitably supported.
Green cities which stimulate and encourage renewable living make it easier than ever to apply green lifestyle choices. The practice of sustainability can be quite habit-forming. A habit our green planet depends on.