Living the American Green: Top 10 Cities for Sustainable Homes

Greenest Cities in America

Some cities across the country seem to always be at the forefront of green and sustainable living, and a new study by online real estate broker Redfin, took a look at which cities in the U.S. are the best of the best when it comes to sustainable home design. 

The top 10 list factors in various criteria related to eco-friendly home design including low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, LEED certification, Energy Star appliances/products, solar/wind energy usage and more.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the international standard for sustainable commercial and residential building design. The number of LEED-certified builders and contractors in a particular city helps estimate, in general, how eco-friendly the area is (i.e., a high number of LEED-certified builders equals a greener city). 

Energy efficient roofing (i.e., cool roofing) can transform any old house into a green home. Examples of sustainable roofing choices includes metal roofing, white/cool roofing, solar shingles and rooftops equipped with solar or wind energy systems.

Ready to find a green home? Have a look in these cities… 

San Francisco, CA

  • Fewest CO2 emissions per capita in the U.S.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric has rebates up to $4,000 for eco-friendly home upgrades (i.e., Energy Star appliances, solar, attic insulation, etc.)

Washington D.C.

  • The most LEED-certified buildings in the country
  • Relatively high rebate and incentive programs for eco-friendly/sustainable home upgrades 

Sacramento, CA

  • Second fewest CO2 emissions in the country
  • The community is focused on sustainable design. For example, 800 new net-zero electricity homes are in the process of being built

Boston, MA

  • Boston’s “Green by 2015” plan promotes green design, such as residential solar panels, efficient use of waste, etc.
  • The E+ Green Building Demonstration Program is focused on bringing sustainable homes to the Boston community 

Portland, OR

  • Residents can opt to receive clean energy from the city (wind, solar, etc.) rather than traditional coal or power plant-derived electricity
  • Local “Fix-it Fairs” teach residents how to save energy and live a greener lifestyle

Philadelphia, PA

  • Ranks second in the country for number of green homes
  • New government buildings are required by law to meet LEED Silver Certification. They also must feature Energy Star approved cool roofing 

Phoenix, AZ

  • “Green Phoenix” is a city-run grant program for homeowners looking to make green upgrades to their home
  • The city of Phoenix funds a program that goes around retrofitting low-income housing with energy-efficient upgrades

Los Angeles, CA

  • Low interest loans up to $50k are offered by the city to homeowners looking to upgrade their home with green features (i.e., solar, new insulation, Energy Start products, etc.)
  • Rebates up to $4,000 are available to homeowners 

Seattle, WA

  • Eco-friendly culture is big in the city. For instance, plastic grocery bags are banned
  • Homeowners get major financial incentives for utilizing solar energy

Austin, TX

  • Austin Energy is the country’s biggest producer of renewable energy
  • Austin Energy offers $20k loans at low interest rates for homeowners looking to upgrade their home with energy-saving features
  • Multiple rebates available for homes utilizing green features, such as Energy Star appliances, low-flow faucets, insulation, etc.