The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has just produced a report, the US and Canada Green City Index, comparing 27 major cities in nine categories for sustainability – CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality and environmental governance. Charlotte was included in the analysis and report.
So how did we do? Number 20 out of 27 major US and Canadian cities in sustainability. That’s where we stand. And that’s why we need to work together to impact policy and to call upon our elected officials and City and County staff to bring about much needed change.
Sustain Charlotte has issued a press release, ” New Ranking Shows Charlotte Trailing the Pack in Sustainability “, about the results. Read it and weep…
And thanks to Susan Stabley of the Charlotte Business Journal for her reporting on this! Here’s her report:
Study: Charlotte has ‘numerous environmental weaknesses to address’
Charlotte Business Journal – by Susan Stabley
June 30, 2011
When it comes to green cities, Charlotte is not yet one of them.
Charlotte ranked 20 out of 27 top United States and Canadian cities, according to a comprehensive sustainability study commissioned by Siemens Corp. that was released today. The Green City Index measured 31 indicators in nine categories — energy, water, air, land use, green buildings, transportation, waste disposal, carbon emissions and environmental governance.
There was some good news: Charlotte scored 9th place for water and land use and 11th for environmental governance. But the Queen City was weak when it came to the remaining categories.
The Siemens study noted Charlotte’s environmental efforts have ramped up because of funding from an $8.5 million stimulus grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy , “suggesting that its overall rank may improve in coming years.”
“Nevertheless, there are still numerous environmental weaknesses to address,” the report stated. “Public transit supply in Charlotte is one of the lowest in the index, for example, as is the proportion of municipal waste the city recycles.”
Charlotte is considered the third most prosperous area in the Green City Index, with a gross domestic product per capita of $57,700. The study noted that the city’s electricity consumption is high in relation to its GDP. As a result, Charlotte ranked 21st in the energy category.
“While the city earns points for progress on developing its own green energy projects, Charlotte’s score in this category is hindered by omissions in the area of clean and efficient policies,” the report states. “It is one of only five cities in the Index that do not promote the use of green energy for businesses and homes.”
Charlotte’s worst rankings (25th) were for buildings and transportation
The study noted that Charlotte had one of the lowest numbers for LEED-certified buildings, its index score was 0.6 per 100,000 people, compared with the average of 6.4.
“The city’s score is further weighed down by the relative weakness of its buildings policies: it is one of just four cities that do not require new buildings to meet energy efficiency standards,” the study says,
Charlotte was also dinged for having the third shortest public transport networks in the index — 0.09 miles per square mile of area, versus an index average of 1.1 miles — and for a lack of specific air quality targets and above-average particulate emissions (the “dirt” that comes out of vehicle tailpipes.)
Charlotte’s recycling efforts were the lowest performing among high-income cities in the study.The city recycles 12 percent compared to an index average of 26 percent, according to the report.
Charlotte received recognition in the study for protecting green space and redeveloping brownfields and for its water efficiency and treatment policies. And it got a shout-out for hiring its first energy and sustainability manager.
The greenest city overall? San Francisco, according to the study, which was followed by New York, Seattle, Denver and Boston.
Some background in the index: Siemens, a subsidiary of Siemens AG (NYSE:SI), hired the Economist Intelligence Unit to conduct the study. The Green City Index eyed the largest 20 statistical areas in the U.S. and top five Canadian metro areas according to its census.
The study added Miami and Phoenix to the mix because of their population and growth rates. Portland, Ore., did not meet the ranking criteria but is mentioned in the Siemens report. For more details, click here.
You can read the Charlotte section here
or the full report here