Boston was named the most energy-efficient city in the country, beating out famously green cities such as Seattle and Portland, Ore., according to a Tuesday report released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The report ranked the 34 largest cities in the country in five sections — local government, community initiatives, buildings, utilities and transportation — based on the current efficiency and planned future developments in each category as applicable. Boston received a score of 76.75 out of 100 overall, according to the report.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our progress in creating a greener, healthier city,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in aTuesday press release. “Boston is a world-class city, and we know that our economic prosperity is tied to its ‘greenovation,’ which has helped create jobs and improve our bottom-line. Reducing our energy use is just one smart step in improving the quality of life in Boston and around the world.”
Portland, Ore., New York City, San Francisco and Seattle rounded up the rest of the top five cities, but Boston did not beat them in all categories, according to an executive summary of the report.
The Hub outscored all surveyed cities only in community-based initiatives with a score of 9.5 out of 10. Boston was tied alongside San Francisco for first in efficiency of utility facilities with a 15.75 out of 18, according to the summary.
Each category had its own maximum score a city could receive. Local government and community initiatives were out of 10, buildings was out of 29, utilities was out of 18 and transportation was out of 28, according to the infographic of scores.
Only Portland, Ore. did better in the transportation category, which is based on the efficiency of mass transit in addition to discouragement of car usage, the summary stated.
Boston remained well above the median score for energy-efficient buildings and the environmental advocacy policies of the local government, but did not do as well in the formal rankings. In the former, it came in third behind New York City and Seattle, and in the latter it came in fifth behind Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio, the report stated.
Despite the idea that cities are pollution hubs, ACEEE concluded from the report that across the country, cities do good for the green movement.
“Our report shows that cities are laboratories of innovation for energy-saving solutions that directly benefit people where they live, work and play,” said Eric Mackres, ACEEE’s local policy manager and the report’s lead author, in a Tuesday press release. “Local governments have great influence over energy use in their communities and many have initiatives that result in significant energy and cost savings.”
Many residents said they were not surprised the city was ranked first, but not everyone agreed with the findings.
“Sure, right in the city it’s efficient in some ways,” said Antoine Melton, 30, a resident of Boston. “In some ways, though, it’s pretty bad, and it only gets worse once you leave the city.”
Glenn Spiro, 48, a resident of Brighton, said he expected Boston to do well, but was surprised the city was ranked the best.
“The recycling programs in the area definitely seem great, and people are responsible here,” he said. “For the most part, even with certain crowding issues on the T, I can get anywhere. If not that, I can walk. It all just seems to work well. I don’t have much experience anywhere else, but it apparently seems to have paid off [for Boston] more than anyone.”
Aaron Ross, 41, a resident of Boston who said he formerly lived near Portland, Ore., said his former home did better with recycling programs, but Boston still deserves the top spot.
“With the bike share programs, and I know hospitals here do what they can to be efficient, I’m sure it adds up,” he said. “I know when the whole green city thing started a few years ago, Boston really jumped on track to be like that. I guess they got their kudos.”