Where It’s Greener

Entrepreneur Magazine
Where it’s Greener
By Tiffany Meyers

As sustainability becomes more important, these cities are setting the standard.

Cities across the U.S. have at last realized the need to take action against global warming. Implementing some of the most innovative, far-ranging environmental programs and plans for residents and, in particular, business owners, the 10 cities featured here have earned themselves a rightful place on Entrepreneur’s sustainability map.

Seattle
Population: 594,210
LEED -Certified* Buildings: 46
More Than 800: Number of mayors who’ve pledged to meet or beat Kyoto Protocol targets since 2005, when Seattle’s mayor, Greg Nickels, launched the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
For Entrepreneurs: Ecotuesday: Eco-minded businesspeople meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month (ecotuesday.com).

Portland, Oregon
Population: 550,396
LEED -Certified Buildings: 47
Likes Bikes: Portland was the first major U.S. city to earn a Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists.
Succession Planning: With a $149,000 Coleman Foundation grant, The University of Portland teaches sustainable entrepreneurship, cultivating the next generation of ecologically responsible businesspeople.

San Francisco
Population: 764,976
LEED -Certified Buildings: 23
Solar-Incentive Program: The nation’s largest, providing up to $6,000 for residential installations and up to $10,000 for businesses.
For Entrepreneurs: Clean-Tech Open: Entrepreneurs pitch their clean-tech business ideas here, competing to win a “Start-Up in a Box” prize package of $50,000 and donated business services (cleantechopen.com).

Minneapolis
Population: 377,392
LEED -Certified Buildings: 2
Goal Set: Reduce CO2 emissions from city operations 12 percent by 2012 and 20 percent by 2020.
Green Consulting Services: are available to entrepreneurs at The Green Institute.

Los Angeles
Population: 3,834,340
LEED-Certified Buildings: 24
By 2010, 20 percent of Los Angeles’ energy is expected to come from renewable resources.
For Entrepreneurs: Leaders of Green Economy: They’re waiting to meet you at Los Angeles’ annual Opportunity Green Conference.

Chicago
Population: 2,836,658
LEED-Certified Buildings: 48 (More Than Any Other North American City)
New Take On Futures Trading: The Chicago Climate Exchange Is North America’s Only Voluntary, Legally Binding Cap And Trade Program To Reduce Co2–The Future, Indeed.
For Entrepreneurs: The Green Exchange: At its launch this year, this renovated factory aims to be the epicenter of green commerce, housing more than 100 green businesses (greenexchange.com).

Boston
Population: 599,351
LEED -Certified Buildings: 21
Bellyaching: Heard from taxi stands across town when Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that city cabs will be required to be fully hybrid by 2015.
For Entrepreneurs: Net Impact Boston: Boston professionals join forces to promote social responsibility in their communities and businesses (netimpactboston.org).

New York City
Population: 8,274,527
LEED -Certified Buildings: 21
Goals Set: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent by 2030, plant 1 million trees, clean up “brownfields,” upgrade the city’s energy infrastructure for efficiency.
For Entrepreneurs: Known as E2, the New York chapter members of Environmental Entrepreneurs serve as the “voice of business” on the environment, advocating for green legislation.

Philadelphia
Population: 1,449,634
LEED -Certified Buildings: 9
Greenlight: Philadelphia was the first large U.S. city to replace traffic signals with LEDs, in 1999.
For Entrepreneurs: The City’s Sustainable Business Network brings together green entrepreneurs committed to a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable economy.

Austin, Texas
Population: 743,074
LEED -Certified Buildings: 18
Goals Set: Power city facilities with renewable energy by 2012 and require new single-family homes to be net-zero-energy capable by 2015. SEEN, the Solar Energy Entrepreneurs Network, lets green entrepreneurs exchange ideas about solar innovation.

Interested in green cities?
Check out more of my findings on the topic.
Or, view some of my other Entrepreneur Magazine stories.

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