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2015's Greenest Cities in America

Oct 15, 2015   |   by Richie Bernardo   |   WalletHub

... To find the cities that most encourage an environmentally friendly lifestyle, WalletHub analysts compared 100 U.S. cities across 13 key metrics. Our data set ranges from greenhouse-gas emissions per capita to the number of smart-energy policies and initiatives. ...

...Ask the Experts

Environmental sustainability is one of the biggest challenges of our time. For additional insight, we asked a panel of experts to share their advice on the ways and benefits of reducing our carbon footprint.

Benoit Cushman-Roisin

Professor of Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Design in the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth

Benoit Cushman-Roisin

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

Cities and municipalities are no exceptions. They should invest in going green as much as individuals, corporations, and governments at state and federal levels. Aside from the attraction of being green (which will last only until all are green!), cities and municipalities can reap the following benefits:

  • cleaner air and cleaner water for their residents thus promoting better health,
  • energy and resources conservation which has economic dividends (ex. monetary savings on fuel for public transportation, efficient street lighting, and less cost treating wastewater because of lower water consumption)
  • in general, re-evaluate with a critical eye one by one what goes on in public buildings and how public service are delivered; for buildings, consider energy efficiency (better thermal insulation, more efficient boilers); for transportation, consider alternative fuels for buses.

What policies or investments offer the biggest bang for the buck?

Reduction is the place to begin because of the money immediately saved by not spending for the inefficient extra. Examples: Switch to LED lighting, start using programmable thermostats in public buildings, put variable frequency drives on major air conditioning and ventilation equipment in public buildings.

Next to the biggest bang for the buck: revitalize the downtown area and promote pedestrian traffic.

What are some easy ways individuals can go green without much cost or effort?

  • Conserve water: Don't let the water run when brushing your teeth, don't launder more than you need to (it's ok to reuse a towel once or twice).
  • Be mindful with gifts, especially with the packaging of gifts.
  • Combine errands with commute from work to save gas and wear and tear on your car.
  • When time comes to replace your car, don't buy a car bigger than you really need. (SUVs are not safer than smaller cars and consume more of everything.)
  • Teach good habits to children and take children on nature walks to instill in them an appreciation and respect for nature.

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