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Washington: The Greenest State in the Nation

The Greenopia website is a great guide for everything green. The website recently released its greenest states rankings and Washington state came out on top. The staff at Greenopia assessed several factors in creating this list: air quality, water quality, recycling rate, green businesses, state legislature, LEED buildings, per capita emissions, per capita energy consumption, per capita water consumption, and renewable energy usage.

According to Greenopia, “Washington has a large number of green businesses and LEED buildings (ones that are both registered and certified), even when you scale them to its population.” The staff does say that Washington would benefit from renewable energy diversification, though.

Washington earned Greenopia’s top ranking of four leaves. Although Washington came out on top, several other states earned a four-leaf ranking including Vermont, New York, Oregon, California, Nevada, Maine, and Colorado. I can honestly say that none of these surprised me—I fully expected to see this states at or near the top of a greenest states ranking list.
A few top 20 rankings did surprise me including South Dakota and my home state, Arizona. Arizona earned the number 13 spot on the list and a three-leaf ranking thanks to the number of green businesses and LEED buildings in the state. The Greenopia rankings do point out that Arizona should be doing far better in the renewable energy arena considering our vast solar and geothermal resources.
South Dakota also earned three green leaves and came in as the 14th greenest state in the nation. As would be expected, LEED buildings and green businesses are lacking in the state however the great air quality and renewable energy consumption helped boost the state’s overall ranking.
While some states surprised me for making it into the top 20, I wasn’t very surprised by the states at the bottom of the list. Ten states received no leaves with Louisiana coming in as the 50th greenest state in the nation. The only thing the state seems to have going for it is that they have an average amount of green businesses when scaled for population. There are only a handful of LEED certified or registered buildings in the state, the state government hasn’t done much to support green industry growth in the state, and air and water quality in the state is below average.
Check out the entire list to see how your state ranked: Greenopia’s Greenest States.

Melissa Hincha-Ownby blogs about the latest in green biz for the Mother Nature Network.

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