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Top 10 Green Cities in America - Part 2

Becoming a green city takes significant planning and resourceful development. Last week we released the top five green cities in America, and shared what they have done to become more sustainable. Now we are revealing the next five cities on the list. Read on to find out which ones made the top 10!

6. Sioux Falls, SD

South Dakota Clean Jobs Index: 1.66

People do not often get excited when talking about South Dakota, but the state is a growing market for green jobs. Sioux Falls recently created a Sustainability Master Plan (SMP), a clearly defined set of sustainability goals for the city. The plan has several focus areas, including waste minimization, energy efficiency and transportation. To obtain the sustainability goals the city created a Sustainability Program, which partners both internally and externally with city departments and organizations. One goal of the plan is to foster the growth of renewable energy through implementing at least two public-private partnership projects and transactions by 2017.

7. Missoula, MT

Montana Clean Jobs Index: 1.23

Missoula has a long history of energy conservation and climate action. The city’s Climate Action Plan (CCAP) serves as a road map to maintaining this progress. Missoula’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2025, meaning the city’s net greenhouse gas emissions will be zero. Green Power Missoula allows residents and businesses to help achieve this goal by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, which are third-party verified amounts of renewable energy, such as wind power.

8. New York, NY

New York Clean Jobs Index: 1.16

New York City usually brings to mind endless traffic jams and taxi cabs. But, more than 80% of NYC residents use public transportation. Driven largely by PlaNYC, the city’s comprehensive plan to address things like climate change, the biggest city in the country has made a lot of progress in becoming a green place to live. The 8.5 million residents of NYC have already reduced carbon emissions by 19% (since 2005), which makes their goal of a 30% reduction by 2030 seem more than achievable.

9. Boston, MA

Massachusetts Clean Jobs Index: 1.11

The historical city of Boston was the first city in the nation to require a green building standard through municipal zoning requirements. A lot has changed since Paul Revere had to warn the town the British were coming with street lanterns. Now Boston has LED street lights, which reduce the city’s energy use and improve the quality of the light. Boston’s Climate Action Plan has set the goal of reducing community greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The city is also focusing on preserving urban forests. Since 2007, over 4,000 new trees have been planted in Boston.

10. Chicago, IL

Illinois Clean Jobs Index: 1.01

The Windy City has ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Chicago Climate Action Plan is working to achieve an 80% reduction below its 1990 greenhouse gas emissions level by the year 2050. Tourists may not even know they are experiencing this first hand; nine museums and the Art Institute of Chicago are partially run on solar power. The Chicago Solar Express works to make the installation of rooftop solar panels easier and more affordable by cutting fees and reducing time-in-line.