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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 4:33 PM
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EarthLab's List of Top Green U.S. Cities for 2007

EarthLab's List of Top Green U.S. Cities for 2007 led by Chicago, New York, Boston and Los Angeles
Leading Climate Crisis Community EarthLab.com Releases Scoring Data Reflecting Members Personal Impact on the Environment



KIRKLAND, Wash., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the EarthLab Foundation, (http://www.earthlab.com), announced its 2007 list of the Top 10 Green Cities in the United States, according to information contributed directly from EarthLab members around the country. Chicago tops the list followed by New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Rounding out EarthLab's Top 10 Green Cities List are Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin and Portland.

The data compiled is based on a sampling of 1,062,197 U.S. residents who have used EarthLab's leading Carbon & Lifestyle Calculator (ECP) to begin the journey of embedding green in their lives. The EarthLab ECP factors in an individual's residence, energy consumption, personal transportation and commute habits, travel schedule, work, recycling and lifestyle habits to establish one's carbon footprint. The ECP is unique in that it is the only calculator available that allows consumers to save their results upon completion of the three minute test. It then allows the user to make energy saving pledges over time and track the reduction in their footprint.


TOP 10 GREEN CITIES_____ECP SCORE_____CARBON OUTPUT (Tons of CO2 Annually)

1 CHICAGO, IL _____________262__________8.14
2 NEW YORK, NY ___________264__________8.34
3 BOSTON, MA ____________ 265__________8.57
4 LOS ANGELES, CA ________271__________8.76
5 PHILADELPHIA, PA _______ 274__________8.82
6 MINNEAPOLIS, MN _______ 279__________8.96
7 SAN FRANCISCO, CA _____ 282__________9.07
8 SEATTLE, WA ___________ 283__________9.18
9 AUSTIN, TX _____________288__________9.24
10 PORTLAND, OR _________289__________9.39
NATIONAL AVERAGE _______325___________15

*Based on a sampling of 1,062,197 U.S. residents

"It is exciting to see that our members, city by city, state by state mobilize to take the initiative, embrace change and commit to making a difference in the world they live in," stated Anna Rising, Executive Director of the EarthLab Foundation. "The message is loud and clear. The greening of America is upon us, whether your score is 250 or 400, taking the first step of raising your personal awareness by taking the ECP test is the key -- the key to a heightened awareness allowing individuals to then make educated, personal choices based on factoring in their environmental impact."

EarthLab gained notoriety this past summer as the featured calculator for Live Earth, SOS, and has since been featured in association with Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary The 11th Hour, 2007 Prime Time Emmy awards and the Alliance for Climate Protection led by its Chairman, Al Gore.

The EarthLab.com community features world class chef and restaurateur Mario Batali and provides a practical guide to green living through community interaction, exclusive climate crisis news, advice from experts and key analysis, in addition to offering the ECP, the most widely used carbon index and lifestyle calculator in the world.

About EarthLab.com - The EarthLab Foundation

EarthLab is the leading climate crisis community and multi-platform media brand that provides a practical guide to green living through community interaction, exclusive climate crisis news, advice from experts and key analysis, in addition to offering the most widely used carbon index and lifestyle calculator in the world.

EarthLab's free personalized Earth Conservation Plan (ECP) Carbon and Lifestyle Calculator is a unique three-minute survey that generates scores, which members can save and track over time. The creation of this private strategy focused on environmentally friendly options gives EarthLab's million plus members an opportunity to educate and activate themselves while embedding a green approach in their lives.

To date EarthLab has forged partnerships with the Alliance for Climate Protection, chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore, Live Earth/SOS, The Primetime Emmy's, Participate.net, Dell Inc. - Dell Earth, world-class chef, restaurateur and author Mario Batali, and Terremark Worldwide, Inc.

The EarthLab Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Kirkland, Washington. The EarthLab Foundation also provides functional outreach and reverse research and educational efforts in part through EarthLab.com, (http://www.earthlab.com), capable of providing unsurpassed real-time data collection from consumers worldwide.


Copyright © 1996-2007 PR Newswire Association LLC.
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 5:04 PM
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i wouldn't imagine any city leading nYc in this regard. The footprint in nY is lessened to a huge extent by transit patterns and its sky high population densities compared to other cities in the West.

but with all lists, they're interesting to look at.
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 5:04 PM
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Interesting.

I took the test today and my ECP score was 593, and my carbon footprint was 32.8. The averages for Arizona are 359 and 15.7 respectively. Yikes!

But, we are downsizing and simplifying, so by this time next year, we should have this cut in half.

--don
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  #4  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 5:30 PM
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These all make sense, at least in terms of inclusion, with the exception of LA. Can't imagine how that place works its way into a "green cities" list.

My score was 318, but I don't know how it's that high. I don't own a car, I'm never home (so lights and electronics are rarely on), I walk or take the subway, I live in an apartment with roommates (separate bedrooms, but shared common areas), etc. How much of an effect does flying 20-30 times a year have? It can't even approach the impact of driving.
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 5:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Don B. View Post
I took the test today and my ECP score was 593, and my carbon footprint was 32.8. The averages for Arizona are 359 and 15.7 respectively. Yikes!
do you have a link to the test? i want to see how i compare to my fellow chicagoans.
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 5:40 PM
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I have a feeling that Chicago does well on this because it has less congestion than New York which really adds to the carbon emissions, idling cars pollute more than cruising cars. I think Chicago's weather might be a little more moderate than New York's. Our averages might be the same, but the lake effect here really does help knock down a lot of extremely hot days and extremely cold days. I don't know that for fact, but it seems that way to me. That could really help cut down on heating and cooling consumption.

Chicago should continue to lead this list with the emphasis the government is putting on green tech. There really aren't many buildings being built here now that aren't LEED certified in some way. Then there are all sorts of other things the city is doing like modifying its storm sewers to reduce runoff and making alleyways out of permiable asphalt that drains and filters run off. Also, there is the most obvious green initiative here, Daly's obsession with green roofs... Everything is sprouting green roofs here, even the friggin ALDI has one, and that place really doesn't have a lot of profit margins to be throwing around on expensive green add ons.
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 5:52 PM
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Nice, I kick ass at not destroying the environment!

My ECP is 158 and my carbon output is 0.8! I even took more flights (4 round trip) than usual this year!

That's pretty good since scores range from 150-900... It probably would have been even lower if I took it in August and September when I was only using bus or subway 1 or 2 times a week and commuting the 7 miles every day on bike!

I wonder who has the lowest score on all of SSP? Lets get everyone to take this!
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:03 PM
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do you have a link to the test? i want to see how i compare to my fellow chicagoans.
Go here.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:11 PM
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I guess the only way to actually score low is by not owning a vehicle of any type...

Either that, or have three people living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat and no electricity! Haha

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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:11 PM
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Quote:
i wouldn't imagine any city leading nYc in this regard. The footprint in nY is lessened to a huge extent by transit patterns and its sky high population densities compared to other cities in the West.

but with all lists, they're interesting to look at.
Ditto. As a measure of "most green cities" any methodology that doesn't list New York as number 1 is clearly flawed.

As a measure of related green issues, however, this is interesting.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don B. View Post
Interesting.

I took the test today and my ECP score was 593, and my carbon footprint was 32.8. The averages for Arizona are 359 and 15.7 respectively. Yikes!

But, we are downsizing and simplifying, so by this time next year, we should have this cut in half.

--don
My score was 453, and I can't imagine my lifestyle is much different from yours, Don. You must drive a beast and never recycle!
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:25 PM
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Originally Posted by alex1 View Post
i wouldn't imagine any city leading nYc in this regard. The footprint in nY is lessened to a huge extent by transit patterns and its sky high population densities compared to other cities in the West.

but with all lists, they're interesting to look at.
One (possible) theory: does that fact that Chicago is in the middle of the Midwest, and therefore most of the country's food supply, make it more "green" than New York? I would expect there's less transport involved in getting food to Chicago than to Manhattan.

Some other hypotheticals that come to mind as possible answers, not that they're this specific in their analysis:

1. Recycling programs
2. Energy costs (since they do ask you how much your electric bill is, which is not necessarily a good proxy for how much electricity you use)
3. Age of housing / building stock (may be more efficient to heat and cool newer structures, or maybe not)

Although at the end of the day it looks like Chicago, Boston and New York are in a statistical tie given the likely sampling error, and this is exactly what I would expect. These three are the healthiest and most urban metropolises in the northeast U.S., which is the "greenest" region of the country in which to live. I can get on board with a study that places these 3 cities at the top. Philadelphia also looks to be where it should be (and I already mentioned that LA looks to be the only city that's really out of place).
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:31 PM
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Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
Go here.
thank you.

my results:

YOUR ECP SCORE IS: 180
YOUR CARBON OUTPUT IS: 2





Quote:
Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
I guess the only way to actually score low is by not owning a vehicle of any type...

Either that, or have three people living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat and no electricity! Haha
i live by myself in a small downtown condo and i don't own a car. as for no heat/no electricity, i find that most people are pathetic wimps when it comes to their thermostats. i don't turn my heat on unless the temp in my condo is below 55 (which is very, very rare and only occurs on the coldest of january nights) and i don't turn my AC on unless the temp in my condo is above 85 (which is also quite rare). in a nutshell, because i live in an efficient highrise condo and because i've managed to expand my body's temperature comfort range (55 - 85 F), i rarely have to use any energy to heat or cool my home. my monthly electricity bill is ~20 bucks, and i have no gas or other energy utilities.

Last edited by Steely Dan; Dec 13, 2007 at 7:36 PM.
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:32 PM
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I think Chicago's weather might be a little more moderate than New York's.
Chicago has much more extreme weather. Chicago has hotter, more humid summers and colder, snowier winters.

Why would you think that Lake Michigan would have a moderating effect, while the Atlantic Ocean wouldn't? That doesn't make any sense.

The list seems about right to me. LA, given its decent density and relatively low energy usage, makes sense to me.
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:42 PM
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thank you.

my results:

YOUR ECP SCORE IS: 183
YOUR CARBON OUTPUT IS: 2






i live by myself in a small downtown condo and i don't own a car. as for no heat/no electricity, i find that most people are pathetic wimps when it comes to their thermostats. i don't turn my heat on unless the temp in my condo is below 55 (which is very, very rare and only occurs on the coldest of january nights) and i don't turn my AC on unless the temp in my condo is above 85 (which is also quite rare). in a nutshell, because i live in an efficient highrise condo and because i've managed to expand my body's temperature comfort range (55 - 85 F), i rarely have to use any energy to heat or cool my home. my monthly electricity bill is ~20 bucks, and i have no gas or other energy utilities.
Sorry, but I just can't see myself being able to be in my house/condo/apartment comfortably when the temperature is either 55 degrees or 85 degrees... Give me a nice 65-75 degree range, and all's good!

Aaron (Glowrock)
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:43 PM
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Interesting

YOUR ECP SCORE IS: 170 YOUR CARBON OUTPUT IS: 1.3
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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 6:59 PM
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Chicago, NYC, LA, San Fran, and Seattle could all make the top 10 in non-greenest cities as well, depending on the methodology used. This listing seems to be focused on individual city resident habits, rather than the whole. Many of the cities in the top 10 of this list still produce highly disproportionate amounts of greenhouse gases even when adjusted for their high populations.

There are many different ways to examine which city is the overall "greenest". This EarthLab list is just one, and a non-scientific one at that.
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  #18  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 7:05 PM
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That is a good point. But they were looking at the individual in that list.

But if you add up the steel mills, concrete manufacturing, petroleum refining, general manufacturing, ect

Than you may see a different list altogether, but you still would have to manufacture something even if it is made in rural America, Exurban, or even China.

The American Urban area is likely the most efficient place with the lowest footprint for these functions.

Last edited by bnk; Dec 13, 2007 at 7:29 PM.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 7:31 PM
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I'm taking this now and it is really biased towards the suburban lifestyle. For example:

TRUE/FALSE: I use a manual/electric lawnmower

False, because I don't have a lawn to mow. If I leave it blank, however, it negatively affects my score because it assumes I use a gas mower (I tested it).

All in all: I'm not impressed with the questionnaire. It left far too much out and what it did manage to cover wasn't valid.

My score, correcting as possible for biases such as the lawnmower question (that is, I checked it even though I don’t have a lawn), my score is 177 and my carbon output is 2.3.
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Last edited by Cirrus; Dec 14, 2007 at 5:40 AM.
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  #20  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2007, 7:38 PM
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My numbers are 208/4.3
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