A city may be favored for its rich history, significant contributions, or picturesque skyline, but what if they’re not sustainable? We can do better! There are ways cities can go from gas-guzzling to green, and some of the options are actually quite simple. The following graphics explains the same.
Transportation and Sustainable Vehicles
Consider a conversion to electric vehicles. These vehicles are becoming more popular among consumers, and rising gas costs are helping to build that popularity. Electric cars can use 40-60% less petroleum than vehicles that run on gas, saving millions of gallons over a span of years if you consider every electric vehicle being used. Electric vehicles have also saved 8,700 metric tons of CO2, effectively reducing the carbon footprints of cities across the nation. Adding better mass transit options- such as improved bus lines- can encourage city dwellers to ditch their cars. Public transit saves gas and reduces CO2 emissions, and more and more people are taking the bus to avoid gas costs or go green.
Green Architecture and Sustainable Buildings
For new buildings, living architecture can be a great option for cities wanting to go green. Buildings are constructed using biomaterials, saving trees. Buildings in U.S. cities currently occupy 65% of electricity consumption, 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, and 30% of raw materials use. A city using this kind of building method can also enjoy a unique cityscape as they blaze a trail to a sustainable city. Existing buildings have plenty of options as well. A switch from heating oil to using natural gas can reduce CO2 emissions. Top off buildings with green roofs in order to reduce temperature and pollution while improving the city’s look. Green roofs help reduce temperature-control costs, can catch rainfall for use, and reduce runoff by 50-60%.
City Management and Smart Resource Control
The addition of wireless sensor networks can turn wasteful cities into sustainable cities through area monitoring. Temperature, pollution, water systems, waste management systems, radiation, traffic, and other components can be monitored for in efficiency. These systems can help detect leaks and problem areas quickly, potentially saving electricity and other precious resources. In order to save additional resources, cities can consider grassroots initiatives, like farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture. Urban farming is a simple change, since dirt beds can be put nearly anywhere and grow food locally. Organizing community carpools and encouraging people to recycle waste and use reusable bags for shopping can make huge impacts as well. A staggering 75% of solid waste is recyclable, but steps need to be made to encourage more recycling to happen, as 70% is still thrown into the trash.
Cities can also become more sustainable and beautiful by adding open space. Hiking trails, activity centers, and parks can draw people into the city and reduce waste. Imagine the positive impact if all of our cities made more of these changes. Sustainable cities are the way of the future!