Chicago ranked 6th among 50 most sustainable cities

by Kerrie Kennedy

Chicago ranked 6th among 50 most sustainable cities

As we approach 2020, more Americans than ever are worried about global warming and climate change, but what exactly is being done about it? The answer: It depends on where you live.

A new study conducted by COMMERCIALCafe has identified 50 U.S. cities that are currently making strides towards sustainability, by providing a “resilient habitat for existing populations without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same.”

A follow-up to a previous study of the most sustainably powered cities in the U.S., this examination determined which of those cities were making the most progress in going green.

Starting with data from The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the study rated cities based on progress they’ve made in energy-related CO2 emissions reduction, improvements in air quality, differences over time in the share of walking and biking commuters, widening adoption of LEED-certified building practices and growth in environmentally focused occupations.

According to the study, embracing urban sustainability through these avenues is key to not only improving the lives of residents, but increasing a city’s long-term resiliency.

Chicago took the No. 6 spot in the study, due to its goals to improve walkability and access to transportation, as well as its increase in efficient energy usage in lower-income areas. It garnered a total of 61.48 points and surpassed perennial favorites such as Seattle, San Francisco and Austin.

Chicago also gained points for its growth in LEED-certified buildings. Since 2014, the city has added 395 LEED-certified buildings to its inventory, bringing the total to 1,303. Chicago was 2nd overall in terms of its number of LEED-certified buildings in 2019.

Signs point to the fact that these factors are becoming more important to consumers. According to a 2018 poll conducted at Yale University, more than half of Americans (57 percent) say they understand that most scientists agree that global warming is happening, and seven out of 10 Americans now say that global warming is “personally important” to them. While the majority of those polled felt “disgusted” and/or “helpless” nearly half (48 percent) were “hopeful” that something could be done to address climate change.

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