Many high rises now seek LEED certification and integrate ecologically sensitive features into luxurious design. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is changing the way people think about the design, construction, maintenance and management of individual buildings and entire communities, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Factors include air and water quality, efficient recycling and waste management, acreage devoted to green space, use of renewable energy sources and easy access to products and services that make going green easier.
Major cities across America are now going green in an effort to establish sustainable lifestyles and businesses. Trees and flowerboxes now line more city streets. Businesses are complying with stricter environmental guidelines. Political leaders are developing strategies to increase the level of green within city limits. Here are three big cities that are going green, big time. They may not be most recognizably known for their green initiatives, but that could all change.
1. San Francisco
Move to San Francisco if you want to live in a green, warm and beautiful city. San Francisco embraces the solar energy that’s rampantly abundant in sunny California. Today, there are nearly 2,000 solar energy systems installed within the city, providing energy to about 9,000 residents. This city also hopes to reach its “Zero Waste” goal, which encourages citizens to use resources more efficiently by 2020, according to SFenvironment.org.
As a resident of San Francisco, you will be responsible for maintaining a green lifestyle. The city passed the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, which requires all residents and businesses to separate recyclables, compostables and trash into separate bins.
The Windy City was environmentally friendly long before municipalities ever heard of “being green.” In 1909, city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham created the plan for the lakefront in which a permanent greenbelt would surround the metropolitan area, effectively setting a natural boundary for urban growth.
The Chicago Green Roof Program is literally turning the city green. Rooftop gardens bring more plant life into urban areas. The city boasts 359 vegetated roofs with a total of 5,469,463 square feet of green roof coverage.
Independently owned Chicago rental properties are getting in on the greening too. Ready access to transportation and employers, bicycle storage, individual thermal comfort control and other features make green living easy. Forrrent.com has a database you can search if you are interested in finding apartments in the area of Chicago that are green-friendly.
As an important convention and event hub, Chicago is home to the largest building ever to earn ASTM/APEX certification—Chicago’s McCormick Place. Certification in ASTM/APEX means the building meets standards that allows for event production in a sustainable manner. These standards ensure that every aspect of the event industry, including accommodations, exhibits, food and transportation are of the highest standards in sustainability. This means you can rely on Chicago’s McCormick Place for exceptional management of air quality, water, energy, waste and communication.
The City of Brotherly Love is another great convention and event city. The Pennsylvania Convention Center earned LEED Gold certification in 2011 by offering energy-efficient lighting, Green Seal-certified cleaning products, and cutlery, plates, cups and napkins made from 100 percent biodegradable products. The center recently signed an agreement with NRG Business Solutions to start powering some of its facilities with renewable energy, including wind.
Philadelphia is taking an extra measure, known as “Green City, Clean Waters“. According to PhillyWaterSheds.org, this system is set up to protect and enhance its watershed by using innovative green infrastructure to manage storm water.
Each of these cities offer organic products, improved accessibility to locally made or grown items, and clean transportation. The toughest part is choosing between San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
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