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2016’s Greenest Cities in America

Tree hugger or not, all humans have a responsibility to protect the planet. Fortunately, 74 percent of Americans agree with that statement today. The rest still worry that “going green” would cost the economy some serious green and result in major employment cuts.

On the contrary, “more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Moreover, the UCS points out that fossil-fuel technologies tend to be capital-intensive, whereas the renewable-energy industry is more labor-intensive. In 2015, for instance, the Solar Foundation reported that the solar industry created jobs nearly 20 times faster than the national rate.

Apart from employing Americans, clean energy and other “green” practices, such as recycling programs and urban agriculture, benefit the environment and public health, all of which contribute to America’s bottom line. Recognizing those advantages, cities across the U.S. have aligned their sustainability efforts with their economic goals and in turn have received handsome returns on such investments.

To determine the cities promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest cities across 20 key “green” indicators. Our data set ranges from “greenhouse-gas emissions per capita” to “number of smart-energy policies and initiatives.” Continue reading below for our findings, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.

Overall Rank City Total Score ‘Environment’ Rank ‘Transportation’ Rank ‘Energy Sources’ Rank ‘Lifestyle & Policy’ Rank
1 San Francisco, CA 75.64 6 10 15 1
2 Honolulu, HI 74.49 1 38 21 14
3 San Jose, CA 71.57 13 21 12 5
4 Fremont, CA 71.35 2 83 1 37
5 San Diego, CA 70.49 16 14 13 7
6 Washington, DC 68.76 9 3 29 8
7 Oakland, CA 68.00 5 54 1 16
8 Portland, OR 67.78 52 7 14 2
9 Sacramento, CA 65.91 54 8 19 4
10 Minneapolis, MN 65.75 26 1 28 18
11 Seattle, WA 65.45 19 55 16 12
12 Madison, WI 64.77 14 2 59 11
13 Boston, MA 64.49 7 6 39 10
14 New York, NY 62.92 24 15 24 24
15 Albuquerque, NM 61.80 4 58 40 31
16 Buffalo, NY 61.68 23 4 36 45
17 Irvine, CA 61.29 44 57 1 30
18 St. Paul, MN 61.01 22 35 23 54
19 Los Angeles, CA 60.88 58 30 17 21
20 Chesapeake, VA 60.81 3 90 84 53
21 Anchorage, AK 59.42 32 24 26 48
22 Anaheim, CA 59.30 67 22 1 40
23 Chula Vista, CA 58.79 49 53 1 92
24 Long Beach, CA 58.64 75 39 1 15
25 Boise, ID 58.31 45 13 20 88
26 Austin, TX 58.06 41 36 41 6
27 Fresno, CA 57.76 77 20 1 20
28 Lincoln, NE 57.05 21 48 47 84
29 Henderson, NV 56.96 28 81 30 63
30 Scottsdale, AZ 55.74 15 93 61 43
31 Baltimore, MD 55.18 53 32 44 3
32 Jersey City, NJ 55.03 17 18 99 68
33 Philadelphia, PA 54.95 40 5 67 28
34 New Orleans, LA 54.86 8 27 70 65
35 Santa Ana, CA 54.03 73 47 1 93
36 Winston-Salem, NC 53.96 34 56 74 60
37 Riverside, CA 53.87 82 71 18 26
38 Phoenix, AZ 53.76 42 42 37 61
39 Durham, NC 53.76 27 66 74 44
40 Colorado Springs, CO 53.34 47 77 34 57
41 Tucson, AZ 53.18 43 49 61 41
42 Miami, FL 53.15 39 17 90 9
43 Wichita, KS 53.08 36 88 22 99
44 Plano, TX 52.86 37 94 50 33
45 Chicago, IL 52.46 38 33 45 49
46 Raleigh, NC 52.39 10 82 87 17
47 Aurora, CO 52.31 50 68 34 90
48 Milwaukee, WI 52.26 59 12 57 32
49 Charlotte, NC 52.06 30 44 77 25
50 Norfolk, VA 52.03 31 34 84 80
51 San Bernardino, CA 51.91 91 65 1 36
52 Denver, CO 51.85 95 11 25 13
53 Nashville, TN 51.74 18 62 68 71
54 Greensboro, NC 51.47 20 75 74 96
55 El Paso, TX 51.26 33 25 46 100
56 Reno, NV 50.69 63 40 30 77
57 North Las Vegas, NV 50.68 61 72 30 97
58 Cincinnati, OH 50.40 51 16 82 35
59 Stockton, CA 50.16 85 45 1 86
60 Garland, TX 50.05 55 86 50 67
61 Irving, TX 49.88 48 91 50 89
62 San Antonio, TX 49.37 66 46 38 76
63 St. Louis, MO 48.93 35 80 80 29
64 Glendale, AZ 48.84 64 79 61 55
65 Fort Wayne, IN 48.73 46 70 93 70
66 Arlington, TX 48.67 29 100 50 94
67 Columbus, OH 48.39 25 37 82 87
68 Fort Worth, TX 48.33 62 63 58 69
69 Las Vegas, NV 48.08 83 50 33 62
70 Mesa, AZ 47.36 68 67 61 79
71 Chandler, AZ 46.70 72 97 61 39
72 Omaha, NE 46.55 57 85 73 72
73 Indianapolis, IN 46.49 69 64 43 75
74 Dallas, TX 46.04 56 99 48 64
75 Orlando, FL 46.02 87 9 79 19
76 Birmingham, AL 45.90 11 92 89 52
77 Pittsburgh, PA 45.50 80 19 72 38
78 Hialeah, FL 45.47 65 84 96 22
79 Lubbock, TX 45.33 81 29 50 74
80 Detroit, MI 45.20 60 26 91 83
81 Virginia Beach, VA 45.07 12 95 98 42
82 Newark, NJ 44.04 78 43 71 78
83 Kansas City, MO 43.87 74 41 78 58
84 Memphis, TN 43.63 70 96 69 59
85 Atlanta, GA 43.14 93 28 60 34
86 Gilbert, AZ 42.90 84 87 61 56
87 Bakersfield, CA 42.53 100 52 1 23
88 Laredo, TX 42.27 94 61 50 50
89 St. Petersburg, FL 42.18 76 73 96 91
90 Jacksonville, FL 41.38 71 89 86 73
91 Houston, TX 41.38 86 76 42 81
92 Lexington-Fayette, KY 41.05 89 60 94 47
93 Cleveland, OH 40.70 92 23 81 46
94 Tampa, FL 40.52 79 74 88 51
95 Louisville, KY 39.52 90 59 95 27
96 Corpus Christi, TX 38.85 97 69 50 66
97 Toledo, OH 38.30 88 78 100 85
98 Tulsa, OK 37.41 99 31 27 82
99 Oklahoma City, OK 36.40 98 51 49 95
100 Baton Rouge, LA 33.23 96 98 92 98

Artwork Greenest Cities 2016-v2

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