It’s pretty easy being green. At least, that’s what Portland, Ore. would say if you asked. The city at the top of our list definitely makes it look easy. If you don’t have the good fortune to live in one of these earth-friendly cities, try visiting one. Maybe you can take some of their green practices home with you. These are Popular Science’s picks for the greenest cities in America.
1. Portland, Oregon: Talk about progressive. Half of Portland’s power comes from renewable sources and a quarter of the city’s workers bike to work, carpool or use public transportation. They are probably going to work in a green building too; 35 of the city’s buildings are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
2. San Francisco, California: This green city generates some of its power from roof space that would have otherwise been wasted. On the roof of the massive convention center lies an intricate collection of photovoltaic cells that power the center during events and 180 homes when the center is empty. Next, San Francisco will be covering many, many more surfaces with solar cells.
3. Boston, Massachusetts: Yard waste is gold in this green city. A plant is in the works to convert yard clippings and leaves into power and fertilizer. Anaerobic bacteria will feed on the grass and create methane while the leaves will be subjected to heat and agitation to speed up the composting process.
4. Oakland, California: The second California city on the list is a master at green transportation. Their public transportation system relies on a new fleet of hydrogen-powered buses that give off nothing more than water vapor.
5. Eugene, Oregon: The second Oregon city on the list has everyone beat on electricity efficiency. While much of the Pacific Northwest gets its power from hydroelectric dams, Eugene goes a few steps further by getting an additional nine percent of its energy from wind dams and buying back excess power from residents who install solar panels.
By supporting the cities that have entered the green future, we can help the country move forward as a whole. If you see anything here that you think would be possible for your city, ask your political representatives about it. Let’s get every American city on this list!