San Francisco, Honolulu, San Jose, CA, Fremont, CA, and San Diego topped personal finance website WalletHub's ranking of the top 100 American cities for sustainability.
The 2016 Greenest Cities list compares cities across four categories — environment, transportation, energy sources and lifestyle and policy — with subcategories like water quality, greenhouse-gas emissions, miles of bicycle lanes, average commute time, solar installation and the number of community gardens.
- WalletHub found that not only do green practices benefit public health and the environment but also that they're also an economic driver, particularly the labor-intensive renewable-energy industry.
Two Oklahoma cities — Tulsa and Oklahoma City — as well as Baton Rouge, LA, and Toledo, OH, were the least-green cities on WalletHub's list. Last year's No. 1 green city, New York, fell in the overall rankings to the 14th spot. San Francisco ranked first in lifestyle and policy, Honolulu in environment, Fremont (in a tie with Oakland, CA) in energy sources, and Minneapolis ranked No. 1 in transportation.
Last month, in its own green study based on 2015 sales data, real estate website Redfin announced its list of the 10 greenest U.S. neighborhoods and ranked the Philadelphia Main Line community of Villanova, PA, as No. 1. It's no surprise that California laid claim to half of the 10 spots, with Redfin noting that many of that state's cities are adopting green measures in wake of persistent drought conditions. Additionally, homes with sustainable features had a sales price 33% higher than the median of the cities in its study, according to Redfin.
What are the best green investments for cities? WalletHub interviewed several experts in its report, and the answers were as varied as planting more trees to stormwater systems to upgrading transportation schemes as a way to reduce reliance on vehicles altogether.