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July 06, 2011

Study Says District One of Greenest Cities in North America 

Study Says District One of Greenest Cities in North America

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The District of Columbia is among the 10 greenest cities in North America and is tied for No. 1 in environmental governance, according to a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by Siemens Corporation.

The study, The US and Canada Green City Index, assessed and compared 27 major cities in the United States and Canada on environmental performance and policies across nine categories – carbon-dioxide emissions, energy consumption, land use, green buildings, transportation, water quality, waste management, air quality and environmental governance. The District, along with New York and Denver, topped the index in environmental governance and was No. 8 in overall environmental performance.

“The District of Columbia continues to prove itself an environmental leader – and particularly in the way our government and our residents take environmental sensitivity into account,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray, announcing the honor at his weekly City Hall Press Briefing today. “We’ve been pioneers in areas like purchasing renewable energy, use of green transportation like bike-sharing programs and construction of LEED-certified green buildings. But I’m excited that this new study provides a set of qualitative and quantitative data that will allow cities to assess what other municipalities are doing and learn from each other as we work to create environmentally sustainable communities.”

Siemens President and CEO Eric Spiegel pointed out that America's cities are proving to be the driving force behind the nation's sustainability efforts. While the United States does not have a federal climate policy or a federal carbon standard, 21 of the 27 cities in the index have already set their own carbon-reduction targets. “Cities are creating comprehensive sustainability plans, utilizing current technology and proving every day that we don't have to wait to create a more sustainable future," Spiegel said.

“The District is fortunate and indeed very privileged to have an executive leadership that is committed to a green and environmentally healthy city,” says Christophe A.G. Tulou, Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). “Our Mayor and D.C. Council members understand how critical it is that our city becomes a leader and trendsetter -- in policy and practice -- on environmental sustainability.”

Siemens Chief Sustainability Officer for the Americas Alison Taylor added, “City budgets are as tight as they have ever been, but mayors are leading the charge around making their cities more sustainable because they know they can’t afford to push these decisions off until tomorrow. Our goal with the Green City Index is to identify best practices, advance good ideas and provide a baseline for cities to help them set targets for themselves so that they can serve as role models for others with their innovative policies.”

The nine categories used in the U.S. and Canada Green City Index are based on 31 individual indicators — 16 of which are quantitative (e.g. consumption of water and electricity per capita, recycling rate, use of public transportation) and 15 qualitative (e.g. carbon-dioxide reduction targets, efficiency standards and incentives for buildings, environmental governance). The study also includes in-depth city portraits of each urban center and highlights initiatives and projects from which other cities can learn.

The 27 cities selected were chosen to represent a number of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada. According to the US and Canada Green City Index, cities that performed best in the rankings are the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that encompass every aspect of creating a greener future, including transportation, land use, energy use, carbon-dioxide emissions and water use.

For more information on the Green City study, visit To learn more about programs and initiatives in place to green the District of Columbia, contact DDOE’s public information office at 202.299.3338.