With the cost of energy on the rise and climate change threatening large amounts of the world’s coastline, more and more people are becoming energy efficient. As well as people changing their habits, many cities are changing their laws and regulations to become more energy efficient too.
In this blog post, we’ll look at five of the world’s most energy efficient, eco-friendly cities. We’ll examine how they’ve become so energy efficient, how they’re changing the world for the better and why other cities should follow their example.
Think of London and you probably don’t think of sunny, blue skies. Despite the bad weather and constant cloudiness, London has made the most of what it’s got and is considered one of the world’s most eco-friendly cities.
London started committing to energy efficiency in the mid-2000s, when the results of climate change were just starting to appear. Today, it plans to cut its CO2 output by 60 percent over the next 20 years – an ambitious and impressive goal.
Its plan has been put into action with a charge on polluting vehicles in the center of the city, wind farms across the English coastline, energy efficient skyscrapers in the City of London and Canary Wharf and a focus on reducing personal pollution.
Iceland is famous for its beautiful environment, so it’s no surprise that this stunning island is committed to preserving the environment. Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is home to some of the world’s most energy efficient buildings.
As well as the huge number of energy efficient houses and office buildings found in the capital of Iceland, the entire country’s energy industry – which is built largely on hydroelectric and geothermal power – is one of the greenest in the world.
Reykjavik’s buses also run on hydrogen-based fuel, making their only emissions an incredibly small amount of water vapor. By all measures, Reykjavik is the world’s most energy efficient city, beating anywhere in North America or Europe.
San Francisco, California
Think of hot technology and you’ll probably think of the Bay Area. San Francisco is one of the United States’ (and the world’s) most energy efficient cities, boasting an incredible number of energy efficient offices, houses and manufacturing plants.
Known as a technology hotspot for decades thanks to nearby Silicon Valley, the Bay Area is home to many of America’s top green initiatives. 20% of San Francisco itself is green space, while the city recycles more than 75% of its total waste output.
Other eco-friendly cities in the United States include nearby Portland – a favorite of the environmentally conscious – and New York City. Boston also ranks highly on the list of North America’s most environmentally responsible large cities.
While Norway is known internationally for its multi-billion dollar oil industry, most of its own energy is generated from renewable sources. 80% of the heating systems in Oslo, the country’s capital, are powered by bio-methane from the city’s garbage.
Like many other Northern European cities, Oslo is committed to using natural light to reduce its power consumption. The city’s street lights are programmed to adjust based on natural light levels to never use more energy than they need to use.
Oslo’s target is to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. With its renewable energy programs, bike and car sharing systems and intelligent street lights, it seems to be on track to meet its goal.
Vancouver has an ambitious plan to become the world’s most eco-friendly city by the year 2020. Ambitious? Yes. Possible? Definitely, given the city’s current strong focus on reducing energy consumption and using renewable energy sources.
As of 2014, 90% of Vancouver’s energy supply comes from renewable sources such as hydroelectric power. The city also boasts some of the best public transport in the whole of North America, resulting in record low personal carbon output rates.
In addition to this, Vancouver is home to a strong energy efficient architecture and building design community that’s made converting the city’s office space into more energy efficient places to work its top priority.