Recently, two indexes were released examining the country’s top cities and office markets for green initiatives, including green building. Is your hometown among them? San Franciscans will rejoice at hearing the results: Their city topped both reports—the Green Cities Index, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Siemens Corp., and the Green Building Opportunity Index, released by the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s BetterBricks Initiative.
The Green City Index reviewed 27 major U.S. and Canadian cities with a focus on nine categories: CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality, and environmental governance. The cities were chosen to represent the most populous metropolitan areas in both countries. Within the nine categories were 31 individual indicators such as consumption of water and electricity per capita, use of public transportation, CO2 reduction targets, and efficiency standards and incentives for buildings.
Of note in the findings: According to Siemens, cities that performed best were the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that encompass multiple green initiatives including transportation, land use, energy use, and water use. San Francisco ranked first overall, with Vancouver, British Columbia; New York; Seattle; Denver; Boston; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Toronto; and Minneapolis rounding out the top 10. A PDF of the full study can be downloaded at siemens.com/press/greencityindex.
In addressing the results, Alison Taylor, chief sustainability officer for the Americas for Siemens Corp., says, “city budgets are as tight as they have ever been, but mayors are leading the charge around making their cities more sustainable because they know they can’t afford to push these decisions off until tomorrow.” It seems many mayors agree, as reported in our online story, “U.S. Cities Continue Sustainability Push.”
In this survey, from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and unconnected to the two surveys and indexes mentioned above, cities across the country are continuing to seek out funding for sustainable practices despite financial constraints.
As mentioned earlier, San Francisco also topped a second, unrelated survey, the Green Building Opportunity Index. This initiative, in its second year, uses real estate fundamentals and green-development considerations to rank the top U.S. central business districts (CBDs). The CBDs are weighted in six categories: office market conditions, investment outlook, green adoption and implementation, local mandates and incentives, state energy initiatives, and green culture. As reported in this month’s newsletter (“East and West Coast Markets Receive Top Marks for Green-Building Practices”), San Francisco was the top district overall, but New York City took three of the top 10 spots overall with several of the districts that make up the city: Midtown Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan South, and Downtown New York districts.
San Francisco may be topping all the current polls, but I’m interested to find out what locales across the U.S. are doing to encourage sustainable initiatives, and, more specifically, to support and promote green building. What efforts is your town making? Comment on this editorial at eco-structure.com, post a sentence or two on our Facebook wall, or tweet us at twitter.com/ecostructure.