Chicago green roof smarter energy cities NRDC

Is your city energy-smart? 22 cities across the nation are according to the most recent “Smarter Cities for Energy” publication put out by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently published its 2010 Smarter Cities for Energy list. 22 cities were on the list this year due to “their investment in green power, energy efficiency measures and conservation.”

In economically rough times, some of the cities on the list got there out of their need to be more economically efficient. Others are long-time green and clean energy leaders. And, many cities on the list are becoming more energy smart due to their interest in quality of life issues.

Energy is the first of 12sustainability factors” the NRDC is going to be ranking cities on.

“We wanted to start with energy” says Paul McRandle, research project director, “given the links between our energy production and consumption patterns and harm to health and the environment.”

Unfortunately, we’ve got a long ways to go to become an energy-smart nation. “Half of all the electricity produced in the U.S. is derived from coal, the burning of which releases heat-trapping pollutants, mercury, sulfur dioxide, particulates and other health-threatening smog pollutants,” the NRDC comments.

As a note, the NRDC left transportation out of this energy ranking. “Since it’s so significant, we thought we should treat transportation as its own sustainability factor,” McRandle noted. “Our plan is to look at it next with the hopes of having our evaluation complete some time in the fall of 2010.”

So, the 22 smarter energy cities, according to size, are as follows (plus links to more info on each city):

Large (population > 250,000)

Austin, TX

Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Columbus, Ohio

Dallas, TX

El Paso, TX

Long Beach, CA

New York, NY

Oakland, CA

Portland, OR

San Francisco, CA

Seattle, WA

Medium  (pop. between 100,00 – 249,999)

Berkeley, CA

Fort Collins, CO

Huntington Beach, CA

Reno, NV

Springfield, IL

Santa Clarita, CA

Small (Pop. < 100,000)

Beaverton, OR

Denton, TX

Dubuque, IA

Santa Cruz, CA

Photo Credit: 416style via flickr