Where it's Greener

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3 min read

This story appears in the January 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Cities across the U.S. have at last realized the need to take action against global warming. Implementing some of the most innovative, far-ranging environmental programs and plans for residents and, in particular, business owners, the 10 cities featured here have earned themselves a rightful place on Entrepreneur's sustainability map.

Population: 594,210
LEED -Certified* Buildings: 46
More Than 800: Number of mayors who've pledged to meet or beat Kyoto Protocol targets since 2005, when Seattle's mayor, Greg Nickels, launched the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
Ecotuesday: Eco-minded businesspeople meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month (ecotuesday.com).

Portland, Oregon
Population: 550,396
LEED -Certified Buildings: 47 Likes Bikes: Portland was the first major U.S. city to earn a Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists.
Succession Planning: With a $149,000 Coleman Foundation grant, The University of Portland teaches sustainable entrepreneurship, cultivating the next generation of ecologically responsible businesspeople.

San Francisco
Population: 764,976
LEED -Certified Buildings: 23
Solar-Incentive Program: The nation's largest, providing up to $6,000 for residential installations and up to $10,000 for businesses.
Clean-Tech Open: Entrepreneurs pitch their clean-tech business ideas here, competing to win a "Start-Up in a Box" prize package of $50,000 and donated business services (cleantechopen.com).

Population: 377,392
LEED -Certified Buildings: 2
Goal Set: Reduce CO2 emissions from city operations 12 percent by 2012 and 20 percent by 2020.
Green Consulting Services: are available to entrepreneurs at The Green Institute.

Los Angeles
Population: 3,834,340
LEED-Certified Buildings: 24
By 2010, 20 percent of Los Angeles' energy is expected to come from renewable resources.
Leaders of Green Economy: They're waiting to meet you at Los Angeles' annual Opportunity Green Conference.

Population: 2,836,658
LEED -Certified Buildings: 48 (More Than Any Other North American City)

*LEED Certified: Short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, this is a widely adopted green building standard from the U.S. Green Building Council. The number of LEED-certified buildings provided here reflects records from September 2008.
New Take On Futures Trading: The Chicago Climate Exchange Is North America's Only Voluntary, Legally Binding Cap And Trade Program To Reduce Co2--The Future, Indeed.
The Green Exchange: At its launch this year, this renovated factory aims to be the epicenter of green commerce, housing more than 100 green businesses (greenexchange.com).

Population: 599,351
LEED -Certified Buildings: 21
Bellyaching: Heard from taxi stands across town when Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that city cabs will be required to be fully hybrid by 2015.
Net Impact Boston: Boston professionals join forces to promote social responsibility in their communities and businesses (netimpactboston.org).

New York City
Population: 8,274,527
LEED -Certified Buildings: 21
Goals Set: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent by 2030, plant 1 million trees, clean up "brownfields," upgrade the city's energy infrastructure for efficiency.
Environmental Entrepreneurs: Known as E2, New York chapter members serve as the "voice of business" on the environment, advocating for green legislation.

Population: 1,449,634
LEED -Certified Buildings: 9
Greenlight: Philadelphia was the first large U.S. city to replace traffic signals with LEDs, in 1999.
The City's Sustainable Business Network brings together green entrepreneurs committed to a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable economy.

Austin, Texas
Population: 743,074
LEED -Certified Buildings: 18
Goals Set: Power city facilities with renewable energy by 2012 and require new single-family homes to be net-zero-energy capable by 2015. SEEN, the Solar Energy Entrepreneurs Network, lets green entrepreneurs exchange ideas about solar innovation.

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