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New York Is the Nation’s Second-Greenest City

New York City

Climate Mobilization Act, LEED certifications, carbon emissions, sustainable policies.

Of the 50 greenest U.S. cities, New York ranks second (Commercial Cafe)

Dec. 12, 2019

Even before the city council passed the sweeping Climate Mobilization Act – which will require co-ops and condos and many other buildings to reduce their carbon emissions in coming years – New York City was making impressive strides toward reducing its carbon footprint. In fact, according to a new study by the real estate blog Commercial Cafe, New York is the second most sustainable city in the nation. Only Washington, D.C., is greener. 

To arrive at its rankings, the survey considered each city’s reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, improvements in air quality, differences over time in the share of walking and biking commuters, the increase in number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications earned, the growth in environmentally focused occupations, as well as ratings given by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). 

New York City’s high walkability, growth in LEED certifications, and well-rated sustainability-oriented policies – most notably the Climate Mobilization Act –  pushed it up to second place. 

While New York didn’t lead the way in any of the six categories under consideration, its consistently high scores led to the second-place overall rating. The city placed a respectable fifth in the growth of LEED certifications, with an increase of 421 since 2014. This brings the city’s number of LEED-certified buildings and projects to 1,269, the sixth most of any city in the U.S. The figures come from the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s August 2019 data. It compared the LEED-certified buildings inventory in 2014 to that of 2019 to-date.

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