Top-10 Greenest U.S. Cities for Renters

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During your apartment search, keep green building tactics on your “to find” list.

69% of Americans are worried about climate change, based on a NY Times poll taken in 2018. However, the whole country is moving toward eco-friendly practices.

The following cities don’t just engage in green initiatives, they encourage residents to adopt the lifestyle too. 

They take part in bike programs, locally sourced food, and more. These cities are leading the charge. Here are 10 cities to consider for your next move:

Washington, DC

Our nation’s capital is a heavy hitter in being green. It ranked #3 on Wallethub’s Greenest Cities in the US. They’re also a city of walkers. 

Ecophiles, a travel magazine, says that almost half of residents commute by subway or bus. That’s right, locals are forgoing driving for more environmentally conscious means of transportation.

Extensive parks and a great bike sharing program make DC an outdoor-friendly city to live in.


Their motto is “Keep Austin Weird”, but it should also be “Keep Austin Green”. National Geographic says Austin intends on becoming “carbon neutral by 2050”. This means they won’t release any carbon into the atmosphere.

If you’re ready to get outside in nature, check out the Barton Creek Greenbelt. An endless stretch of gorgeous trails and swimming holes.

Don’t forget the local ingredients. The Texas Department of Agriculture boasts 18 certified farmers markets spread out over Austin. So, if you’re into locally sourced fruits and vegetables you won’t have to search far.


The city of Portland is widely known for its innovative sustainability work. Local government went so far as to create We Build Green Cities.

They’re a group of environmentally savvy companies brought together to teach their best environmental practices to a global market.


Hawaii is well-known for its stunning beaches, but its capital city is a major leader in green living.

CBS News shares that Honolulu is ranked #1 as the most environmentally sound city in the country. Their air quality was found to be #3 in a recent study.

Go for its gorgeous weather and beaches, but stay for its clean air, green space, and low greenhouse gas emissions.

San Francisco

The Golden City is a pioneer in green. They were the first city to ban plastic bags and their policies on environmentally friendly living keep growing. There’s a citywide policy that everyone must compost and recycle their waste.

For those who like to spend time outdoors, you can easily access their substantial hiking trails with killer city views.


They don’t call Seattle the Emerald City for nothing. This west coast city is lined with endless trees and parkland. 

Stated by the city’s website, as of 2010 over half of Seattle’s waste is recycled or composted and that number keeps growing.


It should come as no surprise that Denver is on this list. It’s known for an extensive park system, comprised of almost 20,000 acres, according to USA Today.

Denver is a nature lovers paradise. They take “living green” to the next level with eco-friendly efforts ranging from lowering energy costs to effective clean air policies by way of Green Print Denver. And don’t forget the cannabis tours!

In 2018, Wallethub ranked Denver at #26 for the greenest cities across the country. This was due to things like greenhouse emissions, energy sources, and lifestyle. In addition, they were in the top 5 for places that use bikes to commute.


If you like to get out and stretch your legs, Boston might be the spot for you. Despite it being a major city, it’s easy to get around on foot. About “14.5%” of Bostonians walk to work, mentioned by The Boston Globe.

You’ll love getting outdoors to explore their rich history. Walk the Freedom Trail, visit Paul Revere’s house, and take in the historical architecture dotting the area.


This Midwestern metropolis gives other green cities a run for their money. In 2018, The Green Building Adoption Index ranked Chicago as the greenest city in the US. This was due to many commercial buildings being eco-friendly.

On top of that, Mayor Emanuel plans to move to 100% renewable energy in public buildings by 2025.

New Orleans

New Orleans proves that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, locals wanted to rebuild while preserving its unique charm. Instead of tearing down damaged homes, they renovated them and increased their sustainability.

The Big Easy has around 2000 acres of public parks. So, when you’re not enjoying the unique music scene or nightlife, head on over to one of their many parks to get a dose of the outdoors.