The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has named twenty-two U.S. cities “2010 Smarter Cities” for their investment in green power, energy efficiency measures and conservation.
NRDC started the research process by creating a database of all U.S. municipalities with populations greater than 50,000. Those cities were broken down into three categories; small cities, medium cities, and large cities. 655 total cities were contacted. Each city was asked to participate in the study by filling out a survey. (See the NRDC link above for specifics.)
Several of the more well-known eco-friendly cities on the list included Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Reno, Nevada – which surprised many – is among the top scorers, sharing the spot with Columbus, Ohio, Springfield, Ill., and Dubuque, Iowa. The rankings are based on energy use per capita, renewable power investments, efficiency efforts and conservation incentives.
As Lindsey McCormack with NRDC wrote, “Reno, Nevada is known for its casinos and quick divorces, but this city at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas also has a flourishing green energy sector. In addition to a number of promising efficiency initiatives, Reno has growing potential as a hub of energy research and wind and geothermal power generation. Already the city has made significant strides that have led to it being named a 2010 Smarter City for Energy, including low per capita municipal energy consumption, distributed energy programs, a 17 percent reduction in energy use in the last five years and the provision of 20 percent of municipal energy by geothermal production.”
Reno City Hall was noted as playing a prominent role in Reno’s emerging green culture with the recent addition of several wind turbines, and let’s not forget that the famous Reno Arch is also green, with each bulb having been replaced with LED lights. Reno also is at the hub of the biggest geothermal serves in the country. The Peppermill Resort Casino, for example, recently completed a $9.7 million geothermal energy project.
A big green high-five to the Biggest Little City for once again making us so proud to call Reno Tahoe home.