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Green Leaders: A Look at the Most Eco-Friendly Cities in America (and What They Are Up To)

Green Leaders - A Look at the Most Eco-Friendly Cities in America (and What they are Up to)

Ecofriendly cities are growing in popularity; however, they have been around for a while. Many cities in the U.S. have spent years cultivating an eco-friendly environment with incredible sustainability projects and movements. The following cities have long implemented policies and practices that make their cities leaders in sustainability and green living:

Portland, Oregon

Community Gardens

Portland has over 45 community gardens. These have become increasingly popular not only because they add beauty and bring a community together, but because they are good for the environment.

There are numerous benefits for planting a community garden—both for the actual environment of the community, and for the people who live in it. Community gardens provide more oxygen, and can help to reduce air pollution, especially in cities. They also provide a place to recycle organic wastes that would otherwise be thrown out.

Urban Barnyards

Portland is quickly becoming a leader in the popular trend of Urban Barnyards. Like community gardens, these are ecofriendly in a number of ways. For one thing, animal waste is a potential biofuel. If processed correctly, waste turns into methane gas, an energy source.

Austin, Texas

Bike Trails

With 160 miles of bike trails, residents use kinetic energy instead fossil fuel energy. Daily, over 1,000 cyclists are on the road; that is less cars emitting fumes into the city air. Designated bike trails help to encourage bike riding rather than driving—if people have a place to safely ride, they are more likely to ditch the car for short trips.

Zero Waste Block Leaders

Zero Waste Block Leaders are neighborhood volunteers that are taught methods of recycling. In turn, they help their community implement community recycling programs. Benefits include reduction of waste and the use of organic materials for soil fertilization. Austin is currently a leader when it comes to these programs, implementing community recycling programs throughout the city.

 Boston, Massachusetts

Green Building Standard

Large-scale buildings constructed in the municipality of Boston must adhere to Boston’s Green Building Standards. Some of the requirements include incorporating rainwater filtration systems and using a percentage of fuel cells as an energy source. Boston’s City Hall has a green roof, which is beneficial with storm water management and smog reduction.

Vehicle Fleet

Boston has increased its fleet of city-owned hybrid and electric vehicles. With over 90 hybrid electric vehicles, over 20 electric vehicles and a number of plug-in hydro-electric vehicles, Boston shows its commitment to sustainability.

San Francisco

Re-purposing Food Waste

San Francisco has long been known for its sustainability efforts. The latest project concerns eliminating food waste from landfills. A new law, that takes effect July 2015, requires commercial generators to compost food waste or transform it into energy; thereby, creating sustainable energy and eliminating waste.

Green Building Labels

In San Francisco, there are over 60 million square feet of commercial space that is certified as green property. With the help of green labels on land records, identifying certified green properties is simple. Green certifications on land records help public identify green structures and ecofriendly businesses.

The listed cities show that being ecofriendly is not a complex solution that we’ll eventually get to in the future. Creating a sustainable community simply requires commitment and a different way of thinking about the future.The information for this article was provided by the professionals of T. Luckey Sons’ Inc. who specialize in slab jacking in Ohio, as well as other restoration technologies that improve roadways and city structures.

Photo via: Flickr Creative Commons via Capture Queen

Dixie Somers, based in Arizona, is the author of this article.

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