Study Ranks Most Sustainable US Destinations
Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and New York City are the most sustainable US destinations in terms of hosting visitors, according to a study by travel company ParkSleepFly.
The study analysed eight topics, including renewable energy use, carbon footprint per person, public transportation, and sustainable hotels. It ranked 31 cities across the country, with Minneapolis and Denver rounding out the top five.
Portland came in first, in large part because of the area’s high renewable energy use. ParkSleepFly says Oregon has the highest rate of renewable energy at 43%, and the city was in the top 10 destinations with the lowest carbon footprint at 16.7 metric tonnes per person. Nine per cent of the city’s hotels also scored as sustainable.
Seattle scores high in renewable energy (38%) and sustainable hotels (9.19%). The city has a high rate of public transportation usage at nearly 45%. New York led in three areas, including sustainable hotels at 14.33% and public transportation at 71.6%.
The best scores for the lowest carbon footprint are Los Angeles and Houston, tying at 14.6 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent per person. Austin, Texas, with 15 metric tonnes per person.
The travel industry has been attempting to better include sustainability in its offerings. A Booking.com survey shows that 61% of travellers in the US want to travel more sustainably in the next year, and the website offers sustainability rankings on more than 95,000 properties around the world.
Last year, Google started offering sustainability results in travel searches and began using methods to track aviation emissions. JetBlue launched a programme tracking travel emissions information.
Cities have also long been working on their sustainability impacts. Denver passed a law requiring certain levels of energy efficiency in buildings, and New York has numerous initiatives for buildings and public transportation.
The ParkSleepFly study used information from Booking.com on sustainable hotels, the US Census Bureau on public transportation use, the Energy Information Administration on renewable energy, and the Global Gridded Model of Carbon Footprints to find the individual carbon impact of each city. Other areas that were factored into the scores included air pollution, light pollution, congestion, and bicycle paths.
Despite being one of the best cities in terms of carbon impact, Houston scored near the bottom overall. Columbus, Ohio, and Nashville, Tennessee, ranked 30th and 31st on the list.
Source: Environmental Leader