Living a green lifestyle means managing your waste, recycling efficiently, making environmentally-friendly transportation choices, buying local and organic goods, utilizing alternative forms of energy and reducing your overall carbon footprint. Going green becomes easier when you’re surrounded by a community that works together and supports each other to make the right choices. Here are six of the top U.S. cities that will compliment your green lifestyle.
With 56 percent of commuters using public transportation, the majority of New York City residents are passing on carbon emitting means of transportation and implementing green options into their everyday lives. If you’re considering moving to the city or want to move into a green apartment, ForRent.com can lead you to LEED certified buildings with roof gardens, central-air filtration, a natural gas-fired cooling system, energy efficient elevators or solar shades, just to name a few.
Although an ambitious goal, the city aims to be carbon neutral by 2020 meaning the entire city will be powered on strictly clean energy. This, along with their 206 parks, 12 preserves, 26 greenbelts and 50+ miles of trails, means the city of Austin is serving as a great role model for residents while providing them with tons of green space to make use of.
This city is considered one of the first pioneers of sustainable practices, beginning in 1909 with city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham, who provided the city with a long-term plan that balanced urban growth and protecting the lakefront. More recently, the Chicago Green Roof Program has converted more than 2.5 million square-feet of city roofs to green spaces that support plant life.
Many residents here have installed or plan to install solar panels on their homes thanks to the city’s incentive program that promotes energy conservation. Seattle also participates in city-wide composting of food scraps and yard waste, regulated by the Seattle public utilities department, eliminating 20-30 percent of waste that would normally end up in landfills.
This city has fine tuned their recycling program and has even added an artistic twist with an artist-in-residence at the recycling facility who creates work to inspire residents to continue recycling and properly manage their waste. Most residents living in the city do not use personal vehicles thanks to San Francisco’s numerous bike lanes, great public transportation system and overall walkability. For those who might need to utilize a vehicle every once in awhile; ride-sharing is a great way to get around while carpooling with others or you can hail one of the city’s hybrid cabs. As of the recent election, the entire state of California has banned plastic bags. However, San Francisco was the first U.S. city to adopt the ban and continues to serve as a great example for other cities going green.
Deemed the most bikeable city in the U.S., Portland encourages their residents to skip gas-powered travel and provides them 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes to ensure their safety. For Portland residents, sustainability starts within their homes and many residents install container gardens, make their own cheese, keep bees, care for their own chickens and so much more. Even if you decide to dine-out in Portland, restaurants offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, locally sourced and organic options.
If you’re looking for a city that not only embraces, but also makes your eco-conscious lifestyle easier, any of the above six are great choices.