Six California Cities Among the Greenest Cities

No California community made the list of least green cities

Today, Wednesday, October 5, being California Clean Air Day, we’re going to deviate slightly from our regular polity to announce that six California cities are among the 10 Greenest Cities in America.

October is also National Energy Awareness Month. And 53% of Americans say protecting the environment should take priority over economic growth, according to a WalletHub study released today of America’s greenest cities in 2022.

Six California communities are listed in the Top 10.

America’s Greenest Cities

1. San Diego, California
2. Portland, OR
3. Honolulu, Hawaii
4. Fremont, California
5.Washington, D.C.
6. Oakland, California
7.Seattle, Washington
8. San Francisco, California
9. Irvine, California
ten. San Jose, California

To determine which cities promote a “green” lifestyle, WalletHub compared the 100 largest US cities across 28 key indicators of environmental friendliness and sustainability. The dataset ranges from greenhouse gas emissions per capita to green job opportunities to the number of smart energy policies and initiatives.

The best against the worst

  • Lubbock, Texas, has the lowest median air quality index, 25, four times lower than Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale and Scottsdale, Arizona, the cities with the highest at 101 (Lowest index = Best).
  • Anchorage, Alaska has the most green space, 80.27%, or 46.1 times more than Hialeah, Florida, the city with the least at 1.74%.
  • San Francisco has the highest walk score, 89, 4.2 times higher than Chesapeake, Va., the city with the lowest at 21.
  • Honolulu has the most farmers’ markets (per square root of population), 0.118801, or 74.9 times more than Arlington, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.001587.

Expert commentary

Should cities invest in going green? What are the benefits?

“Yes, cities should invest in going green, and I define ‘green’ as making efforts to reduce energy consumption and investing in renewable energy resources. The main benefits are cost savings, which will provide financial benefits to cities and their ratepayers. A good example is investing in energy efficiency measures for city-owned buildings and adopting policies that encourage businesses and residents to take advantage of available energy efficiency programs. Examples of energy efficiency measures include improving the thermal integrity of buildings through additional insulation and installing energy-efficient windows and doors, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, and LED lighting. . These measures are usually amortized in a few years and public services often offer programs to bear part of the costs. The benefits are immediate in the form of reduced energy bills and improved comfort levels for occupants of energy-efficient buildings.
— James M. Van Nostrand – Professor; Director, Center for Energy & Sustainable Development, West Virginia University College of Law

What are some simple ways individuals can go green without too much expense or effort?

“Don’t buy new, buy used. Almost all new products sold are CO2 penalized when replaced in the store. Use existing items and products longer except those that emit CO2 during Also, nowadays you can install a PV system without storage (during the day only) on your roof for a few thousand dollars in order to have free air conditioning, for example. use public transport, etc.
— Peter Bauer – Professor, University of Notre Dame

“Energy conservation is the simplest win-win solution, and the collective efforts of households have made a big difference. Walking instead of driving saves money, reduces carbon footprint and has health benefits. Even growing a few of your own vegetables is fun and educational for kids. Anyone can start by filling out one of these online personal carbon footprint calculators. They can be revealing!
— Michael V. Russo – Editor-in-Chief, Organization & Environment; Professor, University of Oregon

Which policies or investments offer the best value for money?

“Energy efficiency offers the best value for money, in terms of immediate energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And it is this sector of the clean energy economy that provides the most jobs, which is also attractive for the economic health of a city. Tasks related to energy efficiency (eg carrying out energy audits and installing energy efficiency measures) cannot be outsourced; they offer stable and well-paid jobs. City investments in energy efficiency measures in government buildings will produce immediate benefits for ratepayers, in the form of lower energy bills and freeing up financial resources to provide other essential city services.
— James M. Van Nostrand – Professor; Director, Center for Energy & Sustainable Development, West Virginia University College of Law

“A few thoughts. It is possible to support green entrepreneurs through tax policy, as I believe Philadelphia has done. But many initiatives can be revenue-neutral, for example favoring green businesses in tenders for public procurement and services (for example, adding points in an evaluation scheme if a candidate is a registered B Corp). Even simply recognizing leading companies through an awards program can draw attention and customers to them. And cities can promote business organizations that bring together green entrepreneurs, another very low-cost initiative.
— Michael V. Russo – Editor-in-Chief, Organization & Environment; Professor, University of Oregon

To see the full report and ranking for your city, click here.

Image Sources

  • Bicycle sign among greenery: Shutterstock

Bernard P. Love