America's 50 Greenest Cities

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Portland, Oregon is the “greenest city in America,” according to new rankings released by Popular Science (link via Dave Ohara), which evaluated factors including the availability of renewable energy, transportation, recycling programs and the number of certified green buildings. While some of these criteria aren’t critical to data center site location, one definitely is: the available of renewable energy from local utilities. Which cities have the non-coal energy that green data center operators covet?

The top city for renewable energy was Eugene, Oregon, which was rated 5th overall. “Much of the wet Pacific Northwest draws its energy from hydroelectric dams,” notes Popular Science. “But Eugene draws an additional 9 percent of its municipal electricity from wind farms. It also buys back excess power from residents who install solar panels.”
Popular Science doesn’t provide a breakout of its rankings on electricity alone, but here’s a rundown of how the leading cities performed on renewable energy.


Of the top 50 cities in the Popular Science rankings, the cities with the best energy rating included:

  • Eugene, Oregon: 10.0
  • St. Paul, Minnesota 8.0
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota 7.8
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico 7.6
  • Riverside, Calif. 7.5
  • Sunnyvale, Calif. 7.3
  • Portland, Ore. 7.1
  • Oakland, Calif. 7.0
  • Syracuse, NY 7.0
  • Santa Rosa, Calif. 7.0

The cities among the top 50 with the lowest green power rankings included:

  • Louisville, Kentucky 1.3
  • Greensboro, NC 2.0
  • Athens-Clarke, Georgia 2.4
  • Elizabeth NJ 2.6
  • Livonia, Michigan 2.7
  • Newport News, Va. 2.7
  • Kansas City, Mo. 2.7

For additional information on the availability of renewable energy, check out our post on the State-by-State Green Power Locator.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.