Hi everyone! How are you all doing? ☺
Today I’d like to share with you a post on sustainability by Miles from Above Green, a LEED Consulting Company. The post is based on the findings from research on green living habits across the U.S, including a comparison to the U.K and Europe, that Above Green had recently conducted. Those of you who read my blog regularly may have read about Above Green from one of my earlier posts, Sunday Inspiration: Above Green, where I was listed as one of the top eco-conscious bloggers and I was asked to share the post on here so without further ado…
The Greenest States
The below map is based on six key factors relating to renewable energy usage, carbon emissions, water usage, number of electric vehicles, number of green buildings, number of green building professionals, and air quality. The factors were weighted by importance – for example; air quality counted more than the number of electric vehicles.
As an environmentalist and employee at a LEED Consulting Company, I am greatly passionate about green buildings and sustainability. My team and I were curious about which state in the United States are the best and worst for green living. Below I’ve also included some interesting findings about the sustainable practices that the UK is engaging in.
Here are some interesting findings in the US based on the six areas we reviewed:
1) The U.S. has over 30 GW of installed solar capacity, which is equivalent to powering 5.7 million homes.
2) The way we extract, manufacture and dispose of products including food add up to 42% of our overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions every year.
3) The United States is #1 in registered and certified LEED projects as of 2016, which equals to 2.5 million employees working in green buildings every day.
4) 542,000 electric vehicles are on American roads today, which is an incremental increase from previous years helping to reduce carbon emissions.
Here some interesting findings relating to the UK and Europe to compare:
1) Across Europe solar power generation now stands at 104 GW installed, with 29% solar growth from last year.
2) By 2020 the government expects 20% of the nations energy to come from renewable sources.
3) There are over 90,000 electric plug-in vehicles in Europe today, by the year 2030 initiatives are set to be 1 of every 12 cars will be electric powered. This is great considering 50% of this power is coming from low carbon emitting sources.
4) Wind energy in the UK generates more than any other country generating 5.1 GW, including 30 installed offshore wind farms with more planned shortly.
Both the United States and the UK are fighting against changing the detrimental effects air pollution has on us, but are we doing enough now? Reducing our carbon footprint helps not just the air we breathe but also many beneficial factors to go alongside living a healthy lifestyle. From zero-emitting cleaning materials, natural linens, buying practical items, and local produce can be just a few things we can all start to take into account the next time we’re shopping.
From our findings based on these six key factors, we found that generally, the northern and western states were better for green living. Of course, there are many more factors that could be considered for a complete evaluation. This is our first attempt at finding the greenest places, who knows, maybe next year will be finding the greenest countries. I think we can agree that the UK does, however, capitalize more on the wind and other forms of renewable energy, while the states steadily grow their network in green infrastructure.
Miles Abernathy is a LEED Green Associate and an Environmental Science major. He recently has served as an Executive Assistant at Above Green, a LEED Consulting company based in Middleburg, Virginia, and is currently working on finishing the last year of his degree at University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is a member of the Surfrider Club at UNC-Wilmington, where he spearheaded an Ocean Friendly Garden project on campus, to reduce runoff, in concert with university faculty and local civic organizations.