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Greenest cities in America

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

Greenest cities in America

Individuals, families, universities, companies, and civic organizations all have important roles to play in the sustainability movement. There are countless ways to combat material waste to keep it out of oceans, landfills, and other trash deposits, from recycling and bringing along reusable totes, to installing solar panels and driving hybrid cars

When it comes to making an impact on a larger scale, looking at which cities have particularly eco-engaged citizens, companies, and local governments reveals just how much of an impact environmental initiatives can have.

It turns out that not all cities are equal in their sustainability efforts. Seventy-four percent of Americans agree that the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment, according to 2016 polling data. But certain places are more likely to follow this thought with considered action. A careful analysis of how green behaviors vary geographically reveals that some cities are far more concerned with environmental friendliness than others. Using a WalletHub study, Stacker listed the 100 greenest cities in the United States according to a handful of metrics, which are explained in detail here.

WalletHub determined the greenest cities in America for 2018 by comparing the 100 largest cities in the nation across 26 key indicators in four categories: environment, transportation, energy sources, and lifestyle and policy. These indicators include air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, the share of commuters who walk and bike to work, the share of electricity from renewable sources, community garden plots per capita, and others. They graded each of these 26 metrics on a 100-point scale (with a score of 100 representing the greatest practices and policies), then each city’s total green score was determined through a weighted average across all indicators.

Read on to see how your city compares to the nation’s most environmentally friendly.

You may also like: Cities with the most green space per capita

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Philip Lange // Shutterstock

#100. Baton Rouge, LA

- Total score: 36.07 (down 0.36 from 2017; 2017 rank: #99)
- Environment rank: #95 (2017 rank: #92)
- Transportation rank: #95 (2017 rank: #97)
- Energy sources rank: #93 (2017 rank: #95)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #99 (2017 rank: #86)

Although Baton Rouge isn’t famous for its environmental prowess, the city was recently designated as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation. The award recognizes cities that have dedicated civic resources to urban forestry, including spending resources on planting new trees. The city lost its Tree City status for decades, but regained the honor in 2018.

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Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

#99. Corpus Christi, TX

- Total score: 36.53 (up 0.12 from 2017; 2017 rank: #100)
- Environment rank: #100 (2017 rank: #97)
- Transportation rank: #81 (2017 rank: #72)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #82 (2017 rank: #88)

The Port of Corpus Christi is making strides toward sustainability with its Environmental Management System. For 10 years in a row, the port has received the highest level of certification for its operations and systems.

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Davenbelle~commonswiki// Wikimedia Commons

#98. St. Louis, MO

- Total score: 39.53 (down 5.69 from 2017; 2017 rank: #71)
- Environment rank: #80 (2017 rank: #54)
- Transportation rank: #80 (2017 rank: #83)
- Energy sources rank: #84 (2017 rank: #82)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #54 (2017 rank: #42)

St. Louis is famous for its green spaces. Forest Park, in the center of the city, was built for the 1904 World’s Fair, and is lovingly maintained by prominent civic organization Forest Park Forever. Elsewhere in the city, a butterfly house and a botanical garden furthers the city’s commitment to the environment.

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Eric Friedebach // Wikimedia Commons

#97. Toledo, OH

- Total score: 40.31 (up 1.52 from 2017; 2017 rank: #94)
- Environment rank: #81 (2017 rank: #89)
- Transportation rank: #83 (2017 rank: #80)
- Energy sources rank: #100 (2017 rank: #100)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #47 (2017 rank: #18)

Among Toledo’s sustainability projects is Living Green Saving Green, a public-private partnership that outfits pre-existing residential properties with eco-friendly fixtures like low-flow toilets and shower heads and programmable thermostats. The program helps show the financial benefits of making sustainable improvements.

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Dixon Gallery and Gardens/Thomas R Machnitzki // Wikimedia Commons

#96. Memphis, TN

- Total score: 40.98 (up 0.13 from 2017; 2017 rank: #89)
- Environment rank: #64 (2017 rank: #78)
- Transportation rank: #63 (2017 rank: #98)
- Energy sources rank: #87 (2017 rank: #73)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #100 (2017 rank: #51)

Greenbox Memphis is among Memphis’ many eco-friendly organizations. The company provides a no-waste system for people to move homes or offices, eliminating the need for cardboard boxes and other materials. Another is Go Green, a group of Memphis Zoo employees who work to make the zoo more eco-friendly and educate patrons on environmental sustainability.

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Mikerussell // Wikimedia Commons

#95. Detroit, MI

- Total score: 41.57 (up 0.53 from 2017; 2017 rank: #88)
- Environment rank: #73 (2017 rank: #72)
- Transportation rank: #36 (2017 rank: #33)
- Energy sources rank: #94 (2017 rank: #94)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #85 (2017 rank: #89)

Detroit is experiencing a renaissance, including a new green district. The neighborhood includes buildings designed or equipped to consume less energy and water and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Over 3 million square feet of the city have been dedicated to this project.

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FloNight // Wikimedia Commons

#94. Lexington-Fayette, KY

- Total score: 41.83 (up 2.39 from 2017; 2017 rank: #93)
- Environment rank: #89 (2017 rank: #93)
- Transportation rank: #74 (2017 rank: #69)
- Energy sources rank: #91 (2017 rank: #92)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #50 (2017 rank: #26)

Lexington-Fayette has made efforts in recent years to become more environmentally friendly. Residents clean up river banks together on weekend mornings, making it into a social event by having picnic lunches along the river. There’s even a local radio show every Monday morning dedicated to the discussion of eco-friendly living.

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Coconino National Forest // Flickr

#93. Mesa, AZ

- Total score: 41.97 (down 2.50 from 2017; 2017 rank: #76)
- Environment rank: #91 (2017 rank: #71)
- Transportation rank: #84 (2017 rank: #76)
- Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #78 (2017 rank: #69)

The city of Mesa has taken several sustainability measures in recent years, like educating citizens on how to collect and store rainwater. The city also provides credits for installing solar energy in commercial and residential buildings.

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Cleveland Botanical Garden—Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#92. Cleveland, OH

- Total score: 42.02 (up 2.56 from 2017; 2017 rank: #92)
- Environment rank: #86 (2017 rank: #87)
- Transportation rank: #34 (2017 rank: #32)
- Energy sources rank: #86 (2017 rank: #84)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #53 (2017 rank: #65)

Cleveland has an ambitious municipal-sustainability plan that includes reducing landfill waste, lowering water consumption and costs, and streamlining the city’s sustainability groups to make each more effective. The city already has successes under its belt, including a plastic bag recycling initiative, and an influx of bicycle riders after the creation of a citywide bike map.

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Trailside Community Park—Jack CameraMan // Wikimedia Commons

#91. Gilbert, AZ

- Total score: 42.21 (up 1.90 from 2017; 2017 rank: #90)
- Environment rank: #76 (2017 rank: #88)
- Transportation rank: #99 (2017 rank: #94)
- Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #83 (2017 rank: #46)

Gilbert has been a leader in the public-private partnership space, creating a designation awarded to businesses that display a commitment to the environment, including reducing pollution, water conservation, and waste reduction. The program also works with businesses to help reduce their eco-footprints.

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wilB // Flickr

#90. Jacksonville, FL

- Total score: 42.38 (up 4.60 from 2017; 2017 rank: #98)
- Environment rank: #41 (2017 rank: #74)
- Transportation rank: #94 (2017 rank: #92)
- Energy sources rank: #83 (2017 rank: #90)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #93 (2017 rank: #96)

The city of Jacksonville has a particularly notable cadre of sustainability-oriented brands, especially for a city of its size. From companies pioneering plastic container and wrap alternatives to local beekeepers and purveyors of glass straws, Jacksonville has something for everyone looking to make an environmentally friendly upgrade.

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Tony the Marine // Wikimedia Commons

#89. Glendale, AZ

- Total score: 42.53 (down 2.40 from 2017; 2017 rank: #74)
- Environment rank: #77 (2017 rank: #67)
- Transportation rank: #88 (2017 rank: #82)
- Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #88 (2017 rank: #68)

Glendale is supporting sustainability with several initiatives. Among these are using alternative methods of transportation at shopping centers and offering education programs for its residents on everything from how to conserve water at home to how to reduce overall energy consumption.

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Jacob Boomsma // Shuttestock

#88. Louisville, KY

- Total score: 42.55 (up 4.53 from 2017; 2017 rank: #97)
- Environment rank: #85 (2017 rank: #96)
- Transportation rank: #60 (2017 rank: #62)
- Energy sources rank: #85 (2017 rank: #87)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #33 (2017 rank: #27)

Louisville has taken strides in recent years to reduce its carbon footprint. Among its initiatives is the city’s new green taxi fleet comprising hybrids that reduce carbon emissions. The city has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 80% over the next 30 years.

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Franklin Park—Robbtronic // Wikimedia Commons

#87. Columbus, OH

- Total score: 42.76 (down 3.05 from 2017; 2017 rank: #69)
- Environment rank: #62 (2017 rank: #51)
- Transportation rank: #45 (2017 rank: #42)
- Energy sources rank: #79 (2017 rank: #81)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #79 (2017 rank: #79)

Two Columbus neighborhoods—Dublin and Westerville—have been called out as two of the most eco-friendly neighborhoods in the country, with miles of bike and leisure paths, ambitious and successful recycling programs, and farm-to-table restaurants that eschew factory-farmed meats.

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AMAPO // Wikimedia Commons

#86. Laredo, TX

- Total score: 43.43 (up 1.39 from 2017; 2017 rank: #86)
- Environment rank: #90 (2017 rank: #95)
- Transportation rank: #72 (2017 rank: #67)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #90 (2017 rank: #6)

The city of Laredo is becoming more sustainable. The city recently got its first electric charging station through a partnership with Tesla, and numerous civic organizations are beginning to collaborate and organize around ways to make their city more eco-conscious.

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Foster Park—Momoneymoproblemz // Wikimedia Commons

#85. Fort Wayne, IN

- Total score: 43.68 (down 2.43 from 2017; 2017 rank: #68)
- Environment rank: #54 (2017 rank: #44)
- Transportation rank: #79 (2017 rank: #75)
- Energy sources rank: #80 (2017 rank: #83)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #81 (2017 rank: #75)

Fort Wayne is slowly but surely becoming more sustainable. Among its recent initiatives are a biking organization that’s attracting cycling enthusiasts around the region, and a new focus on the city’s public transportation infrastructure.

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Creative Commons // Wikimedia Commons

#84. Virginia Beach, VA

- Total score: 43.94 (down 5.69 from 2017; 2017 rank: #54)
- Environment rank: #3 (2017 rank: #4)
- Transportation rank: #98 (2017 rank: #96)
- Energy sources rank: #90 (2017 rank: #89)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #66 (2017 rank: #20)

Virginia Beach is taking a proactive approach to sustainability. Its convention center was the first in the country to become LEED gold certified, and several restaurants, shops, and events have committed to meaningfully reducing waste and promoting sustainable practices among their patrons.

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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#82. Dallas, TX

- Total score: 44.46 (up 1.35 from 2017; 2017 rank: #85)
- Environment rank: #72 (2017 rank: #66)
- Transportation rank: #69 (2017 rank: #99)
- Energy sources rank: #54 (2017 rank: #56)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #86 (2017 rank: #64)

Dallas began its Environmental Management System in 2004, which laid the groundwork for the steady progress the city has made. Dallas’ efforts at curbing carbon emissions and promoting green energy were recognized this year, when its mayor was awardedthe Climate Leadership Award at the 87th annual Conference of Mayors.

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Hialeah Park—Jutland86 // Wikimedia Commons

#82. Hialeah, FL

- Total score: 44.46 (down 3.86 from 2017; 2017 rank: #60)
- Environment rank: #52 (2017 rank: #47)
- Transportation rank: #87 (2017 rank: #87)
- Energy sources rank: #96 (2017 rank: #96)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #44 (2017 rank: #4)

Hialeah has implemented several sustainability initiatives recently, including working to pass a Green Enterprise Grant for small businesses, as well as planting city gardens and implementing biodiesel shuttle buses.

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trolvag // Wikimedia Commons

#81. Chandler, AZ

- Total score: 44.57 (up 0.49 from 2017; 2017 rank: #80)
- Environment rank: #78 (2017 rank: #75)
- Transportation rank: #91 (2017 rank: #88)
- Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #52 (2017 rank: #52)

One of Chandler’s primary eco-claims to fame was its status as the first city in Arizona to recognize solar energy systems in its municipal zoning codes. The city’s water management system has also been designed with conservation at the forefront, which is particularly significant in a desert city.

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Erion Shehaj // Flickr

#80. Houston, TX

- Total score: 44.79 (up 3.09 from 2017; 2017 rank: #87)
- Environment rank: #65 (2017 rank: #83)
- Transportation rank: #85 (2017 rank: #79)
- Energy sources rank: #53 (2017 rank: #55)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #70 (2017 rank: #77)

Houston has committed to achieving the standards set forth by the Paris Climate Accord by 2050. The city has invested heavily in green energy and was the #1 municipal user of green energy in 2017.

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Branch Brook Park—Siddharth Mallya // Wikimedia Commons

#79. Newark, NJ

- Total score: 44.81 (up 1.17 from 2017; 2017 rank: #81)
- Environment rank: #71 (2017 rank: #80)
- Transportation rank: #61 (2017 rank: #53)
- Energy sources rank: #75 (2017 rank: #74)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #51 (2017 rank: #47)

Newark has been hard at work on its Sustainability Action Plan for years. As part of the plan, the city has built catch basins for rainwater, and organized tree-planting drives and community-outreach events.

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Will Rogers Park—MARELBU // Wikimedia Commons

#78. Oklahoma City, OK

- Total score: 45.14 (up 5.57 from 2017; 2017 rank: #91)
- Environment rank: #87 (2017 rank: #94)
- Transportation rank: #59 (2017 rank: #58)
- Energy sources rank: #42 (2017 rank: #44)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #96 (2017 rank: #87)

Oklahoma City encourages its citizens to be eco-friendly by incentivizing them. Among the cities initiatives is the Green Home Loan, which can be used to install sustainable home upgrades, including energy-efficient windows and doors.

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Dameon Hudson // Wikimedia Commons

#77. Fort Worth, TX

- Total score: 45.16 (up 0.21 from 2017; 2017 rank: #73)
- Environment rank: #61 (2017 rank: #62)
- Transportation rank: #76 (2017 rank: #71)
- Energy sources rank: #52 (2017 rank: #54)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #80 (2017 rank: #85)

Fort Worth has green-lit several projects focused on environmental sustainability. Among them is a program to make the city friendlier to bikers, and one which aims to conserve water by offering public education programs and irrigation evaluation. 

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Dolly442 // Wikimedia Commons

#76. St. Petersburg, FL

- Total score: 45.33 (up 6.76 from 2017; 2017 rank: #96)
- Environment rank: #48 (2017 rank: #82)
- Transportation rank: #82 (2017 rank: #77)
- Energy sources rank: #96 (2017 rank: #96)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #59 (2017 rank: #97)

Several factors make St. Petersburg a green city. These include over 40 miles of bicycle trails and a city bike share program. It was also the first Florida city to build a LEED gold-certified home. The city is also known for having eco-conscious citizens, making it an attractive city for like-minded people and businesses to call home.

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Raymond Bucko, SJ // Wikimedia Commons

#75. Omaha, NE

- Total score: 45.67 (up 1.25 from 2017; 2017 rank: #78)
- Environment rank: #56 (2017 rank: #52)
- Transportation rank: #41 (2017 rank: #81)
- Energy sources rank: #69 (2017 rank: #70)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #91 (2017 rank: #78)

Omaha is so committed to sustainability that its own utilities industry pitched in to save the environment. The provider decided that it would rather sell less of its own products than contribute to pollution.

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Dopefish // Wikimedia Commons

#74. Arlington, TX

- Total score: 45.85 (up 0.68 from 2017; 2017 rank: #72)
- Environment rank: #22 (2017 rank: #25)
- Transportation rank: #100 (2017 rank: #100)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #89 (2017 rank: #94)

The state of Texas is a major producer of oil, but the city of Arlington is leading the transition to renewables. The city has started a public-private partnership to retrofit over 10,000 of the city’s streetlights with LEDs. In just the first six months of the program, the city reduced its energy consumption by 45%.

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Diego Delso // Wikimedia Commons

#73. Chicago, IL

- Total score: 45.94 (down 3.56 from 2017; 2017 rank: #55)
- Environment rank: #79 (2017 rank: #38)
- Transportation rank: #44 (2017 rank: #41)
- Energy sources rank: #62 (2017 rank: #53)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #46 (2017 rank: #70)

Chicago has several eco-conscious credits to its name. Among these are its status as the home to more green-certified buildings and rooftops than any other city in the country, including many of its major institutions, like the Art Institute of Chicago. O’Hare Airport is also home to the first airport aeroponics garden, which supplies restaurants with herbs and produce.

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Mang9 // Wikimedia Commons

#72. Irving, TX

- Total score: 46.31 (down 1.67 from 2017; 2017 rank: #64)
- Environment rank: #50 (2017 rank: #45)
- Transportation rank: #97 (2017 rank: #95)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #91 (2017 rank: #66)

The city of Irving is home to environmental initiatives that are transforming the city across the board. Among them are many public events intended to engage and educate the community, including night hikes, recycling drives, and herb-growing classes. The city is also slowly but surely expanding its number of electric vehicle charging stations to reduce the city’s carbon emissions.

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Thefixer // Wikimedia Commons

#71. Tulsa, OK

- Total score: 46.45 (up 7.73 from 2017; 2017 rank: #95)
- Environment rank: #99 (2017 rank: #99)
- Transportation rank: #46 (2017 rank: #40)
- Energy sources rank: #14 (2017 rank: #23)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #98 (2017 rank: #99)

Tulsa has recently experienced a green renaissance. The city’s businesses have undergone a notable shift towards integrating sustainability into their business models in recent years, including the city’s zoo, which reduced its energy consumption by 85% over the course of two years.

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Good Free Photos

#70. Nashville, TN

- Total score: 46.74 (down 2.12 from 2017; 2017 rank: #58)
- Environment rank: #26 (2017 rank: #34)
- Transportation rank: #58 (2017 rank: #49)
- Energy sources rank: #78 (2017 rank: #63)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #76 (2017 rank: #76)

When it comes to sustainability, Nashville turns trash into treasure. The city transformed a garbage dump into a wildlife preserve. The protected area is home to over 35 species of wildlife.

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Acacia Demonstration Gardens—DavidGrayson // Wikimedia Commons

#69. Henderson, NV

- Total score: 46.86 (down 6.69 from 2017; 2017 rank: #33)
- Environment rank: #84 (2017 rank: #23)
- Transportation rank: #89 (2017 rank: #86)
- Energy sources rank: #26 (2017 rank: #29)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #84 (2017 rank: #62)

The city of Henderson is attempting to build sustainability into everyday life with its Citizens Advisory Committee, which provides feedback and ideas to local government officials. In 2016, the city’s efforts were rewarded, and Henderson was recognized as a community that measurably curbed its environmental impact.

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Lexcio // Flickr

#68. Birmingham, AL

- Total score: 46.87 (up 2.42 from 2017; 2017 rank: #77)
- Environment rank: #18 (2017 rank: #20)
- Transportation rank: #42 (2017 rank: #85)
- Energy sources rank: #95 (2017 rank: #93)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #39 (2017 rank: #56)

Birmingham is a green hub in Alabama. The city is home to the state’s Green Building Focus and Green Resource Center and has more LEED-certified buildings than any other city in the state. Birmingham has also launched its Healthy Action Partnership, which educates citizens on using public transportation for health and environmental benefits.

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Allie_Caulfield // Wikimedia Commons

#67. Pittsburgh, PA

- Total score: 46.98 (up 2.08 from 2017; 2017 rank: #75)
- Environment rank: #51 (2017 rank: #81)
- Transportation rank: #49 (2017 rank: #15)
- Energy sources rank: #74 (2017 rank: #72)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #36 (2017 rank: #63)

Sustainability in Pittsburgh has been a true team effort. The city is home to nonprofit environmental groups, government entities, outdoor sports leagues, and research universities, which all collaborate in lowering the city’s energy consumption. Among the consortium’s successes so far have been LEED-certifying buildings on university campuses.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#66. Miami, FL

- Total score: 47.42 (down 3.56 from 2017; 2017 rank: #47)
- Environment rank: #66 (2017 rank: #48)
- Transportation rank: #16 (2017 rank: #17)
- Energy sources rank: #99 (2017 rank: #98)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #11 (2017 rank: #3)

With its miles of coastline, Miami has been actively committed to fighting climate change for over two decades. The city has implemented a number of environmental education and advocacy programs, and has recently become a hub for monitoring sea level changes, thanks to the Sea Level Solutions Center at Florida University.

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Nicolas Henderson // Flickr

#65. Winston-Salem, NC

- Total score: 47.71 (down 3.27 from 2017; 2017 rank: #46)
- Environment rank: #42 (2017 rank: #27)
- Transportation rank: #77 (2017 rank: #74)
- Energy sources rank: #70 (2017 rank: #77)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #60 (2017 rank: #41)

Winston-Salem’s sustainability efforts are laser-focused on educating and inspiring the next generation of climate activists. The program, run through the Piedmont Environmental Alliance, goes beyond teaching the basics of recycling and energy conservation, and incorporates eco-stewardship into math and science lessons. The program also teaches older students public speaking skills they can use to spread the message.

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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#64. Plano, TX

- Total score: 47.85 (up 0.44 from 2017; 2017 rank: #67)
- Environment rank: #53 (2017 rank: #37)
- Transportation rank: #92 (2017 rank: #89)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #42 (2017 rank: #72)

For a city of its size, Plano has many green spaces. The city has a community garden that any resident can join, a nature area dedicated to environmental education and exploration, and the Texas SmartScape Garden. This interactive green space teaches residents how to create drought-resistant gardens and lawns.

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Norfolk Botanical Garden—Joy Schoenberger // Wikimedia Commons

#63. Norfolk, VA

- Total score: 47.92 (down 6.53 from 2017; 2017 rank: #32)
- Environment rank: #29 (2017 rank: #17)
- Transportation rank: #90 (2017 rank: #39)
- Energy sources rank: #88 (2017 rank: #85)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #48 (2017 rank: #61)

A unique initiative in Norfolk called Global Shapers aims to galvanize Virginia’s emerging sustainability industry. The program's dual aims are to help the environment and prevent the city’s millennials from seeking better employment elsewhere. 

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gary yim // Shutterstock

#62. Jersey City, NJ

- Total score: 48.13 (down 3.10 from 2017; 2017 rank: #44)
- Environment rank: #63 (2017 rank: #11)
- Transportation rank: #10 (2017 rank: #28)
- Energy sources rank: #98 (2017 rank: #99)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #55 (2017 rank: #84)

Jersey City residents and community organizations are tackling sustainability on multiple fronts. Among these are a community composting initiative, and drives to increase retrofitting of houses and other buildings with solar panels.

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Baltimore Heritage // Wikimedia Commons

#61. Baltimore, MD

- Total score: 48.16 (down 2.65 from 2017; 2017 rank: #49)
- Environment rank: #92 (2017 rank: #65)
- Transportation rank: #22 (2017 rank: #21)
- Energy sources rank: #55 (2017 rank: #45)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #22 (2017 rank: #25)

Baltimore has undertaken several unique sustainability projects. These include an overarching Food Policy Initiative that seeks to expand access to healthy food, and an agriculture program intended to expand the production and distribution of locally grown food within the city.

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Charvex // Wikimedia Commons

#60. Kansas City, MO

- Total score: 48.29 (up 4.11 from 2017; 2017 rank: #79)
- Environment rank: #45 (2017 rank: #84)
- Transportation rank: #26 (2017 rank: #22)
- Energy sources rank: #65 (2017 rank: #66)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #71 (2017 rank: #73)

Kansas City’s sustainability focus is aimed at fostering partnerships with businesses. The experts on the city’s Green Business Network work with local companies to make their operations more eco-friendly in a way that also positively impacts their bottom line. The network has assisted in hundreds of sustainability adjustments from local businesses over the past two decades.

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Econterms // Wikimedia Commons

#59. Durham, NC

- Total score: 48.53 (down 1.22 from 2017; 2017 rank: #53)
- Environment rank: #36 (2017 rank: #32)
- Transportation rank: #62 (2017 rank: #54)
- Energy sources rank: #70 (2017 rank: #77)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #38 (2017 rank: #55)

The city of Durham has been taking strides to reduce its environmental footprint. Recent successes include replacing lights in public places with LED bulbs, installing solar hot water systems, and phasing out city vehicles for a smart fleet. A new green-building policy also requires all new construction to be LEED-compliant.

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cheriejoyful // Flickr

#58. Charlotte, NC

- Total score: 48.56 (down 0.90 from 2017; 2017 rank: #56)
- Environment rank: #15 (2017 rank: #15)
- Transportation rank: #54 (2017 rank: #50)
- Energy sources rank: #82 (2017 rank: #88)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #56 (2017 rank: #60)

Charlotte can claim several environmental successes. In June 2018, the city voted to remain committed to the standards set forth in the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. A separate energy reduction campaign saved residents a whopping $26 million on their energy bills.

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Bobak Ha’Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#57. Bakersfield, CA

- Total score: 48.72 (up 5.18 from 2017; 2017 rank: #82)
- Environment rank: #98 (2017 rank: #100)
- Transportation rank: #68 (2017 rank: #56)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #61 (2017 rank: #40)

Bakersfield’s most exciting new sustainability project is the plan for a high-speed rail that will reduce the carbon footprint of commuting, as the city is highly reliant on cars. Another new development in Bakersfield is the Metropolitan Bakersfield Conservation Plan, which seeks to protect the region’s threatened and endangered species.

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Elred // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Lubbock, TX

- Total score: 48.9 (down 3.67 from 2017; 2017 rank: #35)
- Environment rank: #60 (2017 rank: #46)
- Transportation rank: #51 (2017 rank: #45)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #74 (2017 rank: #39)

Lubbock is home to one of the country’s leading universities for sustainability and energy efficiency. Texas Tech has integrated sustainability into the core of its business and operations models, decreasing its energy use by 37% since 2000.

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J.C. Raulston Aboretum—Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#55. Raleigh, NC

- Total score: 49.25 (down 2.41 from 2017; 2017 rank: #41)
- Environment rank: #11 (2017 rank: #16)
- Transportation rank: #75 (2017 rank: #65)
- Energy sources rank: #76 (2017 rank: #76)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #62 (2017 rank: #37)

Raleigh’s multi-pronged approach to sustainability includes making buildings more efficient, improving public transportation, reclaiming and recycling, building green spaces, and creating green jobs. The city has been so successful in creating jobs that it was named the #2 fastest-growing clean energy job creator out of the country’s hundred largest metro areas.

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Dori // Wikimedia Commons

#54. Milwaukee, WI

- Total score: 49.52 (down 2.39 from 2017; 2017 rank: #37)
- Environment rank: #70 (2017 rank: #53)
- Transportation rank: #25 (2017 rank: #20)
- Energy sources rank: #73 (2017 rank: #71)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #15 (2017 rank: #16)

Milwaukee can claim significant initiatives for solar energy, water management, and urban gardening, among other eco-friendly programs. The city offers loans for solar rehabbing, and has taken a strong lead in turning abandoned lots into urban gardens, parks, and orchards.

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Lane Pearman // Flickr

#53. Wichita, KS

- Total score: 49.54 (up 0.21 from 2017; 2017 rank: #57)
- Environment rank: #43 (2017 rank: #40)
- Transportation rank: #93 (2017 rank: #91)
- Energy sources rank: #33 (2017 rank: #37)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #95 (2017 rank: #100)

Wichita did not fare well in sustainability studies in the first decade of the 21st century, so the city got to work as the second decade began. Water conservation, natural resource preservation, efficient transportation, and healthy community design are among the city’s priorities. The city was rewarded with a three-star rating, a designation awarded to cities that make measurable improvements in sustainability.

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Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

#52. North Las Vegas, NV

- Total score: 49.89 (down 10.79 from 2017; 2017 rank: #15)
- Environment rank: #57 (2017 rank: #5)
- Transportation rank: #86 (2017 rank: #84)
- Energy sources rank: #26 (2017 rank: #29)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #87 (2017 rank: #38)

North Las Vegas is home to some seriously green companies. For example, Faraday Future, an electric vehicle startup, has set a goal of running its factory primarily on clean energy.

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Chad Carson // Wikimedia Commons

#51. New Orleans, LA

- Total score: 49.95 (down 1.82 from 2017; 2017 rank: #40)
- Environment rank: #21 (2017 rank: #12)
- Transportation rank: #35 (2017 rank: #31)
- Energy sources rank: #64 (2017 rank: #64)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #94 (2017 rank: #91)

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, devastating the city. Its one positive effect was serving as the catalyst to make the city a much greener place to live. Homes destroyed by the storm are being rebuilt using the highest ecological building standards. Historic preservation efforts include repurposing material from abandoned buildings into new construction.

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Firewheel Golf Park—Rcolborn // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Garland, TX

- Total score: 49.96 (up 2.00 from 2017; 2017 rank: #65)
- Environment rank: #27 (2017 rank: #60)
- Transportation rank: #57 (2017 rank: #93)
- Energy sources rank: #43 (2017 rank: #46)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #97 (2017 rank: #36)

The city of Garland has seen success in its sustainability efforts in recent years. These include initiatives to improve the walkability of its downtown area and launching the city’s light rail system. High-density developments, including multi-level apartments and parking garages, allow more people to live per square foot, reducing the need for gas-guzzling commutes.

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US Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Chesapeake, VA

- Total score: 50.36 (down 8.94 from 2017; 2017 rank: #20)
- Environment rank: #1 (2017 rank: #3)
- Transportation rank: #96 (2017 rank: #90)
- Energy sources rank: #88 (2017 rank: #85)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #77 (2017 rank: #29)

As befits a city on the water, many of Chesapeake’s conservation efforts focus on cleaning and conserving water. The city has ocean-centric summits for grade schoolers, who take the stage with experts to share their findings on water conservation and preservation. Community-building activities based around cleaning waterways provide family friendly fun and a chance to get some exercise in.

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Matt Harriger // Wikimedia Commons

#48. San Antonio, TX

- Total score: 50.77 (up 2.63 from 2017; 2017 rank: #61)
- Environment rank: #47 (2017 rank: #64)
- Transportation rank: #56 (2017 rank: #46)
- Energy sources rank: #38 (2017 rank: #41)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #68 (2017 rank: #81)

San Antonio’s sustainability plan centers primarily around using less water and more of the abundant sun that washes over Texas. Daily per capita water usage in San Antonio has dropped from 145 gallons in 2011 to 118 gallons in 2015, a success the water company has attributed to its proactive approach to reducing consumption.

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Robert Corby // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Colorado Springs, CO

- Total score: 50.83 (down 0.39 from 2017; 2017 rank: #45)
- Environment rank: #58 (2017 rank: #50)
- Transportation rank: #78 (2017 rank: #70)
- Energy sources rank: #29 (2017 rank: #34)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #40 (2017 rank: #57)

Colorado Springs is trying to make it easier for its residents to live more eco-friendly lives. The city has partnered with auto dealers to offer rebates for electric car purchases and has developed a task force to determine how smart technology can conserve resources.

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Pixabay

#46. Indianapolis, IN

- Total score: 50.83 (up 3.20 from 2017; 2017 rank: #66)
- Environment rank: #17 (2017 rank: #55)
- Transportation rank: #70 (2017 rank: #61)
- Energy sources rank: #51 (2017 rank: #42)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #63 (2017 rank: #83)

Indianapolis’ sustainability plan is an ambitious effort to decrease carbon emissions and dispose of waste of efficiently. The city’s biggest achievements have been its Responsible Production and Consumption program, which educates residents on energy efficiency and food waste.

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Eastlake Park—Chris English // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Phoenix, AZ

- Total score: 50.97 (down 0.84 from 2017; 2017 rank: #39)
- Environment rank: #74 (2017 rank: #57)
- Transportation rank: #47 (2017 rank: #38)
- Energy sources rank: #37 (2017 rank: #36)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #49 (2017 rank: #67)

Phoenix has an abundance of attractions created by citizens with a particular zeal for sustainability. Among the city’s eco-oriented attractions is the famous “Maytag Matilda”—a horse sculpture created with scrap metal—and the Water Works at Arizona Falls, a restored hydroelectric plant that now generates renewable energy.

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Pioneers Park—Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Lincoln, NE

- Total score: 51.08 (down 1.66 from 2017; 2017 rank: #34)
- Environment rank: #40 (2017 rank: #18)
- Transportation rank: #48 (2017 rank: #44)
- Energy sources rank: #50 (2017 rank: #43)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #73 (2017 rank: #95)

The city of Lincoln has drawn on environmentally engaged residents to advance the city’s sustainability goals. The city commissioned a panel of citizens, called the Sustainable Lincoln Blue Ribbon Leadership Team, to improve the community’s air and water and decrease its waste and energy consumption. The city has also made significant efforts to divert construction and demolition waste and banned the purchase of bottled water with city funds.

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Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

#43. Aurora, CO

- Total score: 51.23 (up 1.35 from 2017; 2017 rank: #52)
- Environment rank: #83 (2017 rank: #43)
- Transportation rank: #29 (2017 rank: #73)
- Energy sources rank: #29 (2017 rank: #34)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #72 (2017 rank: #93)

Aurora is advancing its sustainability goals on multiple fronts. The city’s light rail system reduces the need for many residents to rely on carbon-producing cars. But perhaps most significantly, the city is home to the Aurora Campus for Renewable Energy, North America’s first shared solar technology center of its kind. There, member companies bring their technology for testing and demonstration.

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Ptncsu12 // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Greensboro, NC

- Total score: 51.32 (up 3.27 from 2017; 2017 rank: #63)
- Environment rank: #20 (2017 rank: #19)
- Transportation rank: #33 (2017 rank: #78)
- Energy sources rank: #70 (2017 rank: #77)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #65 (2017 rank: #90)

Greensboro stands out for its many green businesses. Among these are the LEED Platinum certified, solar-heated Proximity Hotel, a renovated mill turned into a stylish getaway spot. The city is home to an array of outdoor parks and green spaces, including the Greensboro Arboretum and Tanger Family Bicentennial Gardens.

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Bobak Ha’Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Philadelphia, PA

- Total score: 51.5 (up 1.05 from 2017; 2017 rank: #50)
- Environment rank: #34 (2017 rank: #61)
- Transportation rank: #20 (2017 rank: #14)
- Energy sources rank: #68 (2017 rank: #65)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #29 (2017 rank: #44)

For eating and drinking, Philadelphia is certainly green. The city’s water department has rain gardens and storm-water planters and is vigilant in keeping urban streams clean. Equally important, some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants feature organic and farm-to-table cuisine, making it easy to eat responsibly.

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Epccedu // Wikimedia Commons

#40. El Paso, TX

- Total score: 51.55 (up 3.47 from 2017; 2017 rank: #62)
- Environment rank: #12 (2017 rank: #26)
- Transportation rank: #50 (2017 rank: #43)
- Energy sources rank: #63 (2017 rank: #68)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #64 (2017 rank: #92)

It's hard for a spread-out, car-reliant locale like El Paso to be eco-friendly, but the city is making concerted efforts. Among these are a week-long festival dedicated to the benefits of electric cars, the addition of bicycle lanes to most of the city’s streets, and the development of a rapid transit system to reduce reliance on cars.

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Joseph Plotz // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Scottsdale, AZ

- Total score: 51.6 (down 7.14 from 2017; 2017 rank: #21)
- Environment rank: #16 (2017 rank: #13)
- Transportation rank: #64 (2017 rank: #63)
- Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #67 (2017 rank: #5)

Scottsdale takes sustainability seriously. The city has a range of green initiatives, from a campaign to limit tailpipe exhaustion to its low-impact development toolkit, which the city is progressively installing in new construction.

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Busch Gardens—Wolle8ball // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Tampa, FL

- Total score: 51.85 (up 8.35 from 2017; 2017 rank: #83)
- Environment rank: #30 (2017 rank: #76)
- Transportation rank: #21 (2017 rank: #57)
- Energy sources rank: #81 (2017 rank: #80)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #17 (2017 rank: #45)

Tampa has a host of innovative sustainability solutions, including solar-powered parking pay stations, numerous electric vehicle charging stations, an active urban forestry program, and miles of beautiful greenways and trails for residents and visitors to enjoy.

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Patrick R. // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Boise, ID

- Total score: 52.16 (down 3.28 from 2017; 2017 rank: #29)
- Environment rank: #93 (2017 rank: #68)
- Transportation rank: #18 (2017 rank: #11)
- Energy sources rank: #23 (2017 rank: #21)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #69 (2017 rank: #82)

One of the most famous elements of eco-friendly Boise is the famous Boise Castle. The grand mansion was designed by a local resident with an Arthurian castle—and the environment—in mind. The floors are all reclaimed wood; the stone is from a local quarry and a geothermal heat pump reduces the energy consumption.

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Atlanta Botanical Garden—Eric Sonstroem // Flickr

#36. Atlanta, GA

- Total score: 52.32 (up 8.96 from 2017; 2017 rank: #84)
- Environment rank: #49 (2017 rank: #91)
- Transportation rank: #17 (2017 rank: #16)
- Energy sources rank: #66 (2017 rank: #67)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #13 (2017 rank: #49)

When it comes to eco-friendly office buildings, Atlanta is one of the top cities in the nation. Many of the city’s office buildings are LEED-certified, and the city passed an ordinance in 2015 mandating that commercial buildings measure and publish their energy and water usage.

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Good Free Photos

#35. Anchorage, AK

- Total score: 52.34 (down 0.12 from 2017; 2017 rank: #36)
- Environment rank: #23 (2017 rank: #42)
- Transportation rank: #66 (2017 rank: #60)
- Energy sources rank: #34 (2017 rank: #28)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #45 (2017 rank: #71)

Many of Anchorage’s sustainability practices are centered around keeping energy costs low. Architects and developers are leading the city in this direction all across the city by implementing best practices according to international building code standards.

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f11photo // Shutterstock

#34. Las Vegas, NV

- Total score: 52.84 (up 4.02 from 2017; 2017 rank: #59)
- Environment rank: #96 (2017 rank: #85)
- Transportation rank: #15 (2017 rank: #34)
- Energy sources rank: #32 (2017 rank: #27)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #28 (2017 rank: #53)

“Eco-friendly” and “Las Vegas” may not typically be two phrases that go together, but the city has been making real strides in recent years to change that. A water reclamation project has cut per capita water usage by 37% in just a decade, thanks to its sweeping reforms, which are now studied as a model around the world.

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Daquella manera // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Tucson, AZ

- Total score: 53.22 (up 1.88 from 2017; 2017 rank: #43)
- Environment rank: #33 (2017 rank: #35)
- Transportation rank: #23 (2017 rank: #52)
- Energy sources rank: #56 (2017 rank: #57)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #58 (2017 rank: #59)

Tucson faces major challenges in being eco-friendly. Nevertheless, the city has jumped the ranks by becoming one of the nation’s 13 solar cities, broadly adopting solar power across its services. The city also ranks low in terms of carbon emissions and particle pollution and has hundreds of miles of trails and bike paths as well as many farmers markets.

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Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Reno, NV

- Total score: 53.37 (down 1.48 from 2017; 2017 rank: #31)
- Environment rank: #55 (2017 rank: #24)
- Transportation rank: #38 (2017 rank: #30)
- Energy sources rank: #26 (2017 rank: #29)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #37 (2017 rank: #74)

Reno is investing $1.2 billion in its eco-friendly future. The city’s latest development of the world’s first desert biome eco-district, which will transform a series of underutilized lots into a combination of residential, commercial, and office space with plenty of vertical gardens and green areas.

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Bobak Ha’Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Fresno, CA

- Total score: 53.75 (down 3.31 from 2017; 2017 rank: #26)
- Environment rank: #88 (2017 rank: #77)
- Transportation rank: #40 (2017 rank: #27)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #57 (2017 rank: #28)

The city of Fresno is devoted to investing in solar energy. The city’s municipal services department and airport have installed photovoltaic panels for daily energy use. Solar panels on an unused airstrip provides forty percent of the energy for lights, air conditioning, controls, and tower communications.

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LPS.1 // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Stockton, CA

- Total score: 54.04 (up 3.19 from 2017; 2017 rank: #48)
- Environment rank: #82 (2017 rank: #86)
- Transportation rank: #65 (2017 rank: #48)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #41 (2017 rank: #58)

Stockton has a vibrant community of eco-conscious citizens who are committed to lessening their environmental impacts. The city has an array of resources for citizens looking to recycle, upcycle, or acquire whatever they need from a pre-existing source. In fact, the city has an abundance of flea markets, antique malls, and thrift markets.

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Hauck Botanic Gardens—Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Cincinnati, OH

- Total score: 54.2 (up 2.68 from 2017; 2017 rank: #42)
- Environment rank: #8 (2017 rank: #39)
- Transportation rank: #13 (2017 rank: #10)
- Energy sources rank: #92 (2017 rank: #91)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #18 (2017 rank: #19)

Cincinnati was the first city in the country to offer its residents 100% renewable energy. The city boasts over 5,000 acres in its sprawling parks system, allowing citizens to enjoy natural resources instead of using them up.

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SeaWorld—Jasonshortes // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Orlando, FL

- Total score: 54.65 (up 9.34 from 2017; 2017 rank: #70)
- Environment rank: #39 (2017 rank: #90)
- Transportation rank: #5 (2017 rank: #6)
- Energy sources rank: #77 (2017 rank: #75)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #6 (2017 rank: #21)

Orlando has an abundance of nature-centric activities to suit any taste. These attractions include ziplining through forests, boat riding through swamps, hang gliding, birdwatching, alligator ponds, and more.

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University of New Mexico—PerryPlanet // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Albuquerque, NM

- Total score: 54.97 (down 2.56 from 2017; 2017 rank: #24)
- Environment rank: #37 (2017 rank: #30)
- Transportation rank: #28 (2017 rank: #66)
- Energy sources rank: #39 (2017 rank: #38)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #34 (2017 rank: #11)

You needed a car in Albuquerque for a long time, but the city’s efforts to change that have transformed it into a seriously sustainable city. Albuquerque now has a commuter rail service, a robust bus network, and more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails.

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Jeffrey Beall // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Denver, CO

- Total score: 55.12 (up 4.84 from 2017; 2017 rank: #51)
- Environment rank: #97 (2017 rank: #98)
- Transportation rank: #14 (2017 rank: #13)
- Energy sources rank: #22 (2017 rank: #26)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #27 (2017 rank: #10)

With views of nature all around, it should come as no surprise that Denver is quite green. The city’s taxis are hybrid, and its public vehicles were the first in the country to become a “Green Fleet.” Denver is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to plant 1 million new trees by 2025.

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#25. Anaheim, CA

- Total score: 55.38 (down 3.20 from 2017; 2017 rank: #22)
- Environment rank: #68 (2017 rank: #63)
- Transportation rank: #71 (2017 rank: #25)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #35 (2017 rank: #54)

The city of Anaheim is raising its sustainability standards across the board. The city’s convention center leads the nation in resource management and has been awarded the highest designation in that category. Anaheim is considered such an eco-friendly area that the city even plays host to a natural products exposition, where manufacturers and green business owners from around the country come to showcase their wares.

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Chrisophe.Finot // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Long Beach, CA

- Total score: 55.87 (down 1.48 from 2017; 2017 rank: #25)
- Environment rank: #75 (2017 rank: #73)
- Transportation rank: #73 (2017 rank: #23)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #25 (2017 rank: #43)

The city of Long Beach is rigorous with its resource management. The city has a Green Purchasing Policy, in which it procures primarily “environmentally preferable products” and encourages (and helps) all of its suppliers and contractors to do the same. The city also has an astonishing number of organic eating options: over 200 restaurants, farms, grocery stores, and farmers markets!

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Cbl62 // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Santa Ana, CA

- Total score: 55.93 (up 4.10 from 2017; 2017 rank: #38)
- Environment rank: #69 (2017 rank: #70)
- Transportation rank: #55 (2017 rank: #64)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #43 (2017 rank: #98)

Santa Ana has gone green across the board. The city has a green-vehicle program, swapping out the city’s fleet of cars for hybrid and fuel-efficient alternatives. Santa Ana has also instituted a mandatory 3% cut in water usage.

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Rick Sidwell // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Riverside, CA

- Total score: 56.13 (up 0.74 from 2017; 2017 rank: #30)
- Environment rank: #94 (2017 rank: #79)
- Transportation rank: #67 (2017 rank: #68)
- Energy sources rank: #16 (2017 rank: #18)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #14 (2017 rank: #34)

Riverside has several eco-friendly initiatives that have transformed the city into a sustainability leader. Riverside began early, swapping LED bulbs into city lights and building a utility solar project as far back as 2001. In just 10 years, a constellation of initiatives allowed Riverside to divert 69% of its waste from landfills.

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Anthony Quintano // Flickr

#21. New York, NY

- Total score: 58.37 (down 1.79 from 2017; 2017 rank: #16)
- Environment rank: #46 (2017 rank: #29)
- Transportation rank: #31 (2017 rank: #26)
- Energy sources rank: #31 (2017 rank: #25)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #12 (2017 rank: #35)

New York City is doing all it can to be more eco-friendly. The city has recently begun providing composting bins, allowing the Department of Sanitation to collect food scraps and yard waste. There are also “stop ‘n swaps” across the city where residents can bring home items they no longer need to trade with others, reducing their eco-footprint by not purchasing new goods.

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LoneStarMike // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Austin, TX

- Total score: 58.44 (up 2.76 from 2017; 2017 rank: #28)
- Environment rank: #19 (2017 rank: #41)
- Transportation rank: #32 (2017 rank: #24)
- Energy sources rank: #40 (2017 rank: #40)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #16 (2017 rank: #31)

Austin lives up to its status as the greenest city in Texas. The city has one of the highest concentrations of farmers markets in the country and also ranks high in air quality for a car-reliant area. The city actively helps residents plan carpools and biking alternatives to promote healthier air.

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Ryuch // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Chula Vista, CA

- Total score: 58.48 (down 1.43 from 2017; 2017 rank: #18)
- Environment rank: #32 (2017 rank: #56)
- Transportation rank: #53 (2017 rank: #47)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #75 (2017 rank: #30)

Chula Vista consolidated its environmental policies under its CLEAN banner to give citizens a streamlined and convenient series of resources. Among these are the city’s free on-site consulting services to business owners looking to reduce their office energy consumption, and numerous recycling drives to help citizens dispose of unwanted items. The city also has over 9,000 acres of green space.

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Good Free Photos

#18. Los Angeles, CA

- Total score: 59.6 (up 0.27 from 2017; 2017 rank: #19)
- Environment rank: #67 (2017 rank: #59)
- Transportation rank: #39 (2017 rank: #36)
- Energy sources rank: #15 (2017 rank: #14)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #31 (2017 rank: #48)

It’s no small feat for a city as car-reliant as Los Angeles to be ranked so high in terms of sustainability. But Los Angeles was the first in the country to require city buildings be designed with LEED compliance in mind. It also has the highest solid-waste recycling rate of any city in the country. Other claims to environmental fame include a cadre of celebrity chefs at the vanguard of the local and organic food revolution.

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Buffalo Japanese Garden—Nikopoley // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Buffalo, NY

- Total score: 60.35 (up 1.91 from 2017; 2017 rank: #23)
- Environment rank: #28 (2017 rank: #36)
- Transportation rank: #11 (2017 rank: #8)
- Energy sources rank: #35 (2017 rank: #33)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #26 (2017 rank: #50)

Buffalo is a hotbed of climate activism. The city’s youth marched in a Youth Climate Strike, occupying the space in front of city hall to show their support for sustainable initiatives. The city holds multiple festivals and nature-appreciation events for residents to come do their part to keep the city green.

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Joel Hensler // Shutterstock

#16. San Bernardino, CA

- Total score: 60.84 (up 0.75 from 2017; 2017 rank: #17)
- Environment rank: #44 (2017 rank: #49)
- Transportation rank: #37 (2017 rank: #55)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #24 (2017 rank: #22)

The city of San Bernardino is known for its commitment to recycling. The city even received an award from a statewide organization for its “outstanding” commitment to keeping what it consumes and produces out of landfills. The city helps facilitate these efforts by holding Residential Community Dump Days, and mandatory commercial recycling, which has been in effect since 2012 for any business generating over four cubic yards of trash per week.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Boston, MA

- Total score: 60.94 (down 0.43 from 2017; 2017 rank: #14)
- Environment rank: #13 (2017 rank: #8)
- Transportation rank: #7 (2017 rank: #9)
- Energy sources rank: #41 (2017 rank: #39)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #20 (2017 rank: #32)

Boston is eco-friendly through and through. The city has dozens of Energy Star hotels, excellent public transportation that negates the need for most residents to own a car, a pay-as-you-go biking system, hybrid taxis, countless locavore restaurants, and some of the most beautiful green spaces in the country, including Boston Common.

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#14. St. Paul, MN

- Total score: 61.1 (up 4.99 from 2017; 2017 rank: #27)
- Environment rank: #31 (2017 rank: #21)
- Transportation rank: #30 (2017 rank: #35)
- Energy sources rank: #25 (2017 rank: #22)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #8 (2017 rank: #80)

St. Paul is so invested in being eco-friendly that it has an entire district devoted to sustainability. The EcoDistrict is educational and liveable, producing solar and biomass energy, using snow melt technology to keep people walking and out of their cars even in the middle of winter, and providing numerous electric vehicle charging stations.

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James Steakley // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Madison, WI

- Total score: 61.58 (down 0.57 from 2017; 2017 rank: #13)
- Environment rank: #9 (2017 rank: #9)
- Transportation rank: #3 (2017 rank: #2)
- Energy sources rank: #67 (2017 rank: #69)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #10 (2017 rank: #14)

Among Madison’s other eco-friendly bona fides, the city lays claim to more green space per capita than any other city in the country, with over 200 miles of hiking, biking, and lake trails. The city is in fact home to more bikes than cars!

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Minnehaha Falls—Jesper Rautell Balle // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Minneapolis, MN

- Total score: 62.61 (up 0.13 from 2017; 2017 rank: #12)
- Environment rank: #24 (2017 rank: #58)
- Transportation rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Energy sources rank: #36 (2017 rank: #32)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #30 (2017 rank: #9)

One reason Minneapolis ranks so highly is thanks to the extremely green ways it offers its citizens to get around. The city’s bike-share program has over 200 stations, and the city has invested heavily in its infrastructure for walking, biking, light rail, and rapid bus transit.

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Mike Baird // Flickr

#11. Oakland, CA

- Total score: 63.83 (up 0.39 from 2017; 2017 rank: #10)
- Environment rank: #14 (2017 rank: #14)
- Transportation rank: #43 (2017 rank: #51)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #23 (2017 rank: #24)

Eco-friendly Oakland reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by double-digits in one decade. The city offers rebates for energy-efficient home updates, and has been awarded a long list of recognitions for its sustainability efforts, including its walkability and green fleet of city cars.

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Bill Reynolds // Flickr

#10. Portland, OR

- Total score: 65.19 (up 0.79 from 2017; 2017 rank: #9)
- Environment rank: #59 (2017 rank: #69)
- Transportation rank: #8 (2017 rank: #4)
- Energy sources rank: #18 (2017 rank: #15)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #3 (2017 rank: #7)

A range of factors contribute to Portland’s status as one of the country’s most eco-friendly cities. Its excellent public transportation city lowers the need for cars, and its bicycle plan is decades-old and has succeeded in further reducing carbon emissions. Portland actually has the largest percentage of bicycle commuters of major American cities, with 7.2%.

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Cassiohabib // Shutterstock

#9. Sacramento, CA

- Total score: 66.06 (down 0.23 from 2017; 2017 rank: #7)
- Environment rank: #38 (2017 rank: #28)
- Transportation rank: #4 (2017 rank: #3)
- Energy sources rank: #19 (2017 rank: #20)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #9 (2017 rank: #13)

Sacramento’s commitment to energy efficiency extends beyond city operations to all its businesses and residents. The city achieved a 24% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across municipal operations over just eight years. Sacramento also offers financing for anyone looking to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes or businesses.

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Unsplash

#8. Seattle, WA

- Total score: 66.91 (up 3.56 from 2017; 2017 rank: #11)
- Environment rank: #25 (2017 rank: #33)
- Transportation rank: #12 (2017 rank: #37)
- Energy sources rank: #21 (2017 rank: #17)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #4 (2017 rank: #15)

It’s no surprise that Seattle ranks highly in terms of sustainability, enjoying 20% canopy cover over public parks and arboretums, low air-conditioner usage, and high standards for cars driven within the city limits. The city also boasts one of the highest concentrations of LEED buildings in the country.

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David Ball // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Fremont, CA

- Total score: 67.59 (down 4.47 from 2017; 2017 rank: #3)
- Environment rank: #2 (2017 rank: #2)
- Transportation rank: #52 (2017 rank: #59)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #32 (2017 rank: #12)

The city of Fremont is heavily investing in alternative energy sources. By 2015, the city generated nearly 30% of its energy from renewable sources, and is on track to hit 43.5% by 2020. The city also powers a significant number of homes and businesses using solar energy.

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Eric Tessmer // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Honolulu, HI

- Total score: 68.41 (down 3.01 from 2017; 2017 rank: #4)
- Environment rank: #5 (2017 rank: #1)
- Transportation rank: #2 (2017 rank: #18)
- Energy sources rank: #24 (2017 rank: #24)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #5 (2017 rank: #33)

Honolulu is a unique city that offers residents and visitors the opportunity to be surrounded by nature, while most other cities focus on green spaces like parks and preserves. The city loves its farmers markets so much that some are even open at night—turning an errand into a social event.

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Japanese Friendship Garden—Maya Visvanathan // Wikimedia Commons

#5. San Jose, CA

- Total score: 68.69 (down 0.17 from 2017; 2017 rank: #5)
- Environment rank: #10 (2017 rank: #10)
- Transportation rank: #24 (2017 rank: #19)
- Energy sources rank: #13 (2017 rank: #13)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #21 (2017 rank: #23)

San Jose’s sustainability plan has served as a model for other cities, and it’s no surprise with its transit-oriented downtown area. The focus on the city’s urban core also reduces the need for outward development, maintaining ex-burb areas as natural wildlife preserves.

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Aldrich Park—Florian Boyd // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Irvine, CA

- Total score: 68.97 (up 4.05 from 2017; 2017 rank: #8)
- Environment rank: #7 (2017 rank: #22)
- Transportation rank: #27 (2017 rank: #29)
- Energy sources rank: #1 (2017 rank: #1)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #7 (2017 rank: #17)

Irvine was designed to be green, with over 350 miles of bike paths and trails. The city’s university has been named among the most sustainable in the world and uses solar panels to power the entire school.

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Andy Dunaway // U.S. Air Force

#3. Washington D.C.

- Total score: 70.39 (up 1.66 from 2017; 2017 rank: #6)
- Environment rank: #35 (2017 rank: #31)
- Transportation rank: #6 (2017 rank: #5)
- Energy sources rank: #17 (2017 rank: #16)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #1 (2017 rank: #2)

D.C. is one of only four cities in the world to have over 100 million square feet of LEED-certified space. Its other eco-friendly credentials include an abundance of farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants, and the country’s first LEED-certified baseball stadium.

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Markus Laber(Benutzer:Impulse) // Wikimedia Commons

#2. San Francisco, CA

- Total score: 72.14 (down 2.10 from 2017; 2017 rank: #1)
- Environment rank: #6 (2017 rank: #6)
- Transportation rank: #9 (2017 rank: #7)
- Energy sources rank: #20 (2017 rank: #19)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #2 (2017 rank: #1)

San Francisco has a long relationship with eco-friendliness, and with its record-breaking 77% of municipal recycled waste, composting mandates, and largest public transportation system in the country, it’s no surprise to see it in the #2 spot. Over 60% of the city’s taxis also run on alternative fuel.

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Roman Eugeniusz // Wikimedia Commons

#1. San Diego, CA

- Total score: 72.53 (down 0.37 from 2017; 2017 rank: #2)
- Environment rank: #4 (2017 rank: #7)
- Transportation rank: #19 (2017 rank: #12)
- Energy sources rank: #12 (2017 rank: #12)
- Lifestyle & policy rank: #19 (2017 rank: #8)

San Diego’s #1 spot on the list is well-earned. The sunny California locale is #2 city in the country for solar energy and is one of the nation’s most bike-friendly. A thriving biotechnology industry provides jobs to the local workforce. From local kombucha producers to plant-based meal purveyors, the eco-conscious have an abundance of ways to live and eat well in this sustainable paradise.

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