Wednesday, July 11, 2007

10 Greenest Cities in America

The 10 Greenest Cities in America

By Jacob Gordon of for MSN City Guides

American cities aren’t just starting to blossom in the green arena, they’re fighting to see which can bloom the brightest. The following list is a quick hybrid cab ride through 10 cities doing the most to realize a sustainable metropolis. To learn more, visit the rest of our series, and see which cities need the most help—and which cities are greener than you think.

The politics in Austin, Texas, home base of Whole Foods Market and Lance Armstrong (at least part of the year), have earned it the title of “the blueberry in the bowl of tomato soup.” But the city’s energy portfolio could make it known as the ray of sunshine in the field of oil pumps. If you want to sign up for green power from Austin Energy, possibly the greenest power grid in the country, you can get in line—this year’s demand was unpredictably high, and they’re fresh out. Austin’s growing list of proactive energy maneuvers is, to say the least, striking. Not only does Austin lead the country in wind power and biodiesel production, but it has built advanced plug-in hybrid vehicles into its energy strategy.

As part of the recently announced Austin Climate Protection Plan, all facilities, fleets and operations will be carbon-neutral by 2020, and 100 percent of city facilities will be powered by renewable energy by 2012. There will also be CO2 caps and reduction plans for all utility emissions, something the federal government hasn’t dared do. According to Roger Duncan, Austin Energy’s deputy general manager, the city is ramping up to make both residential and commercial building codes the most energy-efficient in the nation, starting by making all new single-family homes “zero net-energy capable”—meaning they could produce as much energy as they use—by 2015, and increasing energy efficiency by 75 percent in all other new construction. The Clean Energy Incubator, sparked by the National Renewable Energy Lab and managed by the University of Texas at Austin, works closely with the power utility and serves as a test bed for budding startup companies to develop green technologies ranging from solar, biofuels and wind to Internet-controlled irrigation systems.

continue click here

No comments: