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Three Cities That Are Going Green


Chicago, Illinois

  • Chicago has been effectively going green since the election of mayor Richard M. Daley in 1989. [2]


Attractions: [1]

  • The windy city houses environmentally-conscious conservatories, museums, planetariums, galleries, zoos, and aquariums.


Transportation: [1]

  • There are 315 miles of bikeways spanning the entirety of Chicago.
  • The city has plans to install 500 miles of bikeways and 10,000 bike racks by 2015.
  • The city houses the second largest public transit system in the nation, which moves over 1.5 million people every weekday.
  • Given the distinction of one of the top five “Most Walkable Cities in America” by Prevention Magazine for several years.
  • Chicago Transit Authority’s entire bus fleet not only consists of hybrids, but each is fueled by Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) in an effort to reduce emissions as much as possible.
  • Chicago welcomes car sharing companies like iGo and Zipcar®, which dramatically decrease environmentally harmful forms of transportation and increase eco-friendly methods like walking, biking, and public transportation.


Businesses: [3]

  • Green Dot Environmental’s office in Chicago offers consulting services for companies and individuals hoping to reduce their impact on the environment.
  • CIC Energy Construction & Supply provides, installs, and monitors solar and wind systems for Chicago’s residents and businesses.
  • The company prides itself on steering businesses closer to LEED certification.
  • Carpet Cleaning Chicago uses only environmentally friendly materials to clean your home or business.


Green Roofs: [1]

  • Installing plants on city rooftops moderates temperature for the buildings on which they are installed and reduces levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • As of 2010, Chicago has 359 green roofs, totaling 5.5 million square feet.
  • The green roofs atop municipal buildings in Chicago also house beehives which help to sustain and pollinate the entire city’s flower population.


Hotels & Restaurants: [1]

  • Fifteen Chicago hotels are Green Seal certified for fostering environmentally friendly practices. The city has more certifications than any other city in the United States.
  • Chicago houses a slew of restaurants that have either gained Green Seal or Green Restaurant Association certifications.


Seattle, Washington

  • Environmental consciousness through recycling isn’t just encouraged in Seattle—it’s the law. [4]


Residents: [5]

  • 45.7% of Seattle residents are Eco-conscious and 66.9% are recycling-conscious.



  • Seattle will soon house The Bullitt Center, an office building which is projected to have a life of 250 years and produce as much water and electricity as it consumes. [6]
  • Apartments For Rent Magazine® distributed in Seattle are printed on recycled paper and use insert cards printed on a UV press that uses non-hazardous inks and doesn’t emit any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere.
  • ForRent’s Online Graphic order-tracking system has saved over 900 reams of paper and 56 trees since its implementation in 2010. [7]


City Initiatives: [8]

  • In 2012, Seattle designed a new climate action plan in an effort to steer the city closer to its ultimate goal of carbon neutrality.
  • In anticipation of the environmental effects of climate change, Seattle’s city government is modifying roads, buildings, drainage systems, water systems, and improving general ecosystem health.


Transportation: [8]

  • In 2007, Seattle implemented its Bicycle Master Plan (BMP), which aims to triple the amount of bicycling between 2007 and 2017 as well as reduce the rate of bicycle collisions by one third.
  • Since 2007 the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has installed 129 miles of on-street bicycle facilities, 98 miles of bicycle wayfinding signs, and 2,230 bicycle parking spaces.
  • The BMP was changed in 2012 to include updating the city’s bicycle network map to include areas it hadn’t previously, develop a more intricate and efficient system to determine which areas are in the greatest need of bicycling facilities, and update bicycle manufacturing standards.
  • Seattle has also developed and implemented the Pedestrian Master Plan, which aims to increase the overall walkability, livability, and health of the city.


Portland, Oregon

  • Portland has consistently been ranked as one of the greenest cities in the United States, most recently by Corporate Knights Magazine of Canada in June, 2012. [9]


Waste: [10]

  • The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) plans to reduce waste and raise the recycling rate 75% by 2015.
  • Portland offers services to the numerous festivals, street fairs, and community events to aid in responsible waste removal.


City Initiatives: [10]

  • The BPS works with other city bureaus and governments to ensure that city watershed and other environmental goals are met.
  • Portland’s Green Building and Development Program has been working for over a decade to advance healthy building practices.
  • The city held its twelfth annual Build it Green! Home Tour and Information Fair in 2012, which allows visitors to tour green remodels and environmentally conscious new homes around the Portland metropolitan area.
  • The tour exposes visitors to accessory dwelling units, solar panels, ecoroofs, rainwater harvesting, natural landscaping, and much more.


Energy: [10]

  • All city-owned diesel vehicles have been powered by a 20% biodiesel fuel blend since 2004.
  • In 2007, all city-owned diesel-powered equipment began running on 50% or 20% blends of biodiesel during the winter months.
  • Portland was the first city in America to adopt a local renewable fuel standard (RFS), which mandates all diesel fuel in Portland must be sold with a blend of at least 5% biodiesel and all gasoline must be sold with a blend of at least 10% ethanol.
  • All residential garbage and recycling haulers in Portland must use biodiesel fuel for operation as of 2007.
  • The city of Portland has offered two separate grant programs to stimulate biofuel availability.
  • The city has implemented Solarize Portland, a solar panel volume-purchasing program, as well as community solar plans which allow buildings or entire neighborhoods to share each others’ solar energy.



  • New Seasons Market delivers fresh, organic food all over the Portland area with an eye toward environmental responsibility. [11]
  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) is a nonprofit center located in Portland that offers market-based solutions to help their fellow businesses go green. BEF invests their net profits directly into initiatives aimed at expanding the sustainability industry. [12]
  • Neil Kelly Company offers general residential remodeling and new construction consulting in Portland. They focus on sustainable green energy in all of their remodeling practices. [13]


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[1]: http://www.explorechicago.org/
[2]: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/d/richard_m_daley/index.html
[3]: http:www.organicconsumers.org
[4]: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-greenest-cities/7
[5]: http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/04/20/america-s-greenest-cities-2012-from-new-york-to-san-francisco.html#slide_21
[6]: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/03/20/10226909-could-this-30-million-green-tower-be-the-future-of-world-cities?lite
[7] http://blog.forrent.com/property-managers-owners/for-rent-media-solutions-goes-green
[8]: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster.htm
[9]: http://www.corporateknights.com/report/2012-greenest-cities-america/top-30-cities
[10]: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/
[11]: http://www.newseasonsmarket.com/
[12]: http://www.b-e-f.org/
[13]: http://www.neilkelly.com/about-us/


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Geneva McNamara joined Trader Publishing company in August, 2004 after she received her degree from Old Dominion University in History and Political Science. She has worked within the Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimization departments of several Dominion Enterprise divisions. In 2011, She became the Senior Organic Search Analyst for ForRent.com.


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