Downtown San Diego Bridge Waterfront Bayfront
Downtown, San Diego Bay and the Coronado bridge. Photo credit: @usa.portofsandiego, via Facebook

A study released this month ranked San Diego as the greenest city in America, thanks to copious amounts of renewable energy and an overall healthful environment.

San Diego was followed by Portland and Honolulu in the ranking by Washington, DC-based WalletHub, a financial information website. The least green of the 100 largest cities in America were three in the Phoenix suburbs: Gilbert, Glendale and Mesa.

“Clean energy and other green practices, such as recycling programs and urban agriculture, help create jobs and benefit both the environment and public health, all of which contribute to America’s bottom line,” said WalletHub.

The study used 28 metrics from greenhouse-gas emissions per capita, to number of smart-energy policies and initiatives, to green job opportunities to rank the cities.

San Diego came in 4th in overall environment, 26th in transportation, 2nd in energy sources and 11th in lifestyle and policy to achieve the no. 1 ranking.

San Diego Gas & Electric, which serves the entire county, has one of the country’s highest shares of renewable energy supply at around 40% of power generated.

Several experts told WalletHub that public commitment is key to building a green city and economy.

“Overall, a question is whether or not greening is front of mind,” said Michael V. Russo, a professor of sustainability at the University of Oregon, who recalled spending a term in the Phoenix area.

“I could not believe what I saw. People commuted in Hummers,” he said. “What this tells me is that there are places where sustainability simply is invisible to people. And unfortunately, I think for some folks we will have to get their attention with strong price signals.”



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Ellen Bullock