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Good Planets are Hard to Find: Looking into America’s Most Sustainable Cities

Written by Greystar
Edited by Greystar
Greystar Green September 26, 2018

We’re rounding out of our September sustainability series by taking a look at nine of the most sustainable cities in the United States – plus a bonus city showcasing Greystar’s newest international apartment presence! 

So far, we’ve looked at sustainable kitchen products, how to recycle and reuse décor, and easy ways to introduce sustainability into your daily routines. Now that you know how to implement sustainable practices into your own life and apartment living, check out how the following cities stand out when it comes to going green. 

San Francisco, California: A Step Ahead

Due to the city’s bold initiatives, public support and participation, San Francisco has paved the way for cities across the country getting into the green scene. One of the most impressive accomplishments of the city is that about 80 percent of its waste is diverted from landfills. That’s more than 1.5 million tons every year, and San Francisco aims to increase that number until it reaches 100 percent. Solar panel usage is another way the sunny city stands out among the rest. In 2009, the city introduced the nation’s first solar energy incentive program. When you match that with the city’s walkability and plastic-bag ban, it’s a sure recipe for success. 

If you’re looking for an apartment to rent in San Francisco, Greystar affords you plenty of choices where you can be green.

Portland, Oregon: Seeing Green

Often competing with San Francisco for the title of America’s greenest city, Portland prides itself on being green. From nearly 300 public parks and hundreds of miles of bike lanes to popular farmers markets, the City of Roses thrives in every season. In the state that kicked off the recycling trend, more than 50 percent of energy comes from renewable resources. 

It’s time for you to get invigorated and find an apartment to rent in the Greater Portland area. 

Seattle, Washington: Maintaining the Beauty

One of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations, Seattle boasts scenic surroundings bolstered by eco-friendly initiatives. It is called Emerald City, after all! Setting a standard for success, Seattle was the first city in the United States to go carbon neutral, which means there is no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Another way the city is seeking to save the planet is through high walking and biking rates. Seattle is one of only five cities, many on this list, where less than half of commuters drive to work alone. Furthermore, a light rail system runs through the city and is reliant on hydroelectricity, getting residents to and from their homes and work with ease. 

Is Seattle calling your name? Find your ideal place to live with Greystar’s many apartment communities in the Seattle and Puget Sound area. 

Boston, Massachusetts: A Historic Trendsetter

While Boston has a rich history that speaks for itself, the city has also implemented eco-friendly initiatives on a coast that isn’t exactly known for its sustainability practices. On September 1, 1897, Boston opened its doors to the first subway in America. The town continues to encourage the use of commuter rails and walking to work if possible. Other ways Boston continues to push the boundaries in this arena is through solar panel guidelines, energy-saving tips, LED traffic lights and an increase in bike lanes. 

Embrace the best of the city and its suburbs when you call a Greystar apartment community your next home in Boston. 

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Happy & Healthy

Often referred to as “the healthiest city in America,” Minneapolis is green in appearance and environmental practices. Residents can enjoy 200 miles of bike trails or kayak on the Mississippi River. The city features a bike sharing program and public transportation system that runs on biodiesel. In addition to changing how machines fuel up, the city has also taken a strong stance regarding plastic water bottles. The mayor’s office no longer offers water bottles to visitors, and tap water is pushed as an alternative. 

Tap into the green lifestyle of Minneapolis when you find the perfect apartment to rent. 

New York City, New York: A Surprising Addition

Although New York City probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think about sustainability, the city showcases an impressive resume of green-related efforts. In addition to Central Park, a world-famous destination that spans 840 acres, the city provides plenty of public transportation. Not only do New Yorkers drive less than the average American, leading to low emissions, but they also use less electricity. Additionally, the city’s OneNYC plan was created to help New York City “become the most resilient, equitable and sustainable city in the world.” 

You can help NYC reach its goal when you call the Big Apple home. 

Denver, Colorado: Reaching New Heights

The Mile High City is home to more than 5,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, as well as almost 100 miles of hiking trails, making it one of the most natural cities in the nation. From clean-air initiatives to increased recycling efforts, Denver is making strides to embrace a more sustainable future. The University of Colorado, Denver has a team determined how to reuse an industrial by-product, fly ash, to make concrete production a more environmentally friendly feat. 

Whether you’re an outdoor or indoor enthusiast, you’ll find the idea apartment to call home thanks to Greystar. 

Chicago, Illinois: A Green Powerhouse

Being green is becoming a habit of Chicagoans. In 2017, the city was listed as having the highest percentage of LEED or Energy Star-certified office buildings in the nation. Over two-thirds of Chicago's commercial buildings are green, and the city also features 12,000 acres of public parks and waterfront space. Chicago as shut down two coal-fueled power plans and is home to a growing number of green roofs – including one on top of City Hall! 

Let Greystar’s apartments in Chicago blow you away when you become a permanent resident. 

Austin, Texas: Standing Out in the South

Standing out among other Southern cities, Austin is committed to sustainability. In addition to increased efforts to reduce waste and conserve energy, the city owns its electric utility and has an integrated smart grid. Residents are also encouraged to ditch the plastic bags at the grocery store and utilize reusable bags. 

Capitalize on the comforts and conveniences of Austin when you decide it’s time to become an apartment resident. 

BONUS: London, England

Not only is London home to Greystar’s newest international presence, but it’s also one of the most sustainable cities in the world. Much like New York City, London probably doesn’t make the list of cities you would think are sustainable. However, the brilliant capital meets the mark with thousands of parks, eco-friendly transportation and low greenhouse gas production. 

Looking to make a move to London? Greystar is there, too, with an apartment that will meet and exceed your needs. 

In case you missed it

Learn more about Greystar’s commitment to impacting the environment for good. 

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