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The 10 greenest places to live

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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Regardless of what side of the fence you are on for celebrating Earth Day (although the grass is sure to be greener on the other side), there are select cities across the country that take the extra initiative to ensure we are taking care of the planet.

NerdWallet took a closer look at the cities with the highest level of green living, measuring environmental quality and green transportation.

Environmental quality factors in the median air quality for each city, with the lower the AQI, the better. Additionally, it looked at the number of parks per 10,000 residents.

Green transportation calculates the percentage of the population that walks, bikes, carpools, takes public transportation or works from home from each city. It also assessed the excess fuel consumed per commuter, which is wasted due to congested conditions in the city.

Of the 95 largest cities in the U.S. considered in the analysis, here are the top 10 greenest cities.

10. Minneapolis, Minn.

Minneapolis is home to 92 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street paths, making it one of the best biking cities in the nation. The city is also home to several green groups, including Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, a nonprofit organization that has promoted the use of renewable energy since 1978.  

Overall the city posted a final score of 52.62, with a median air quality of 45, 4.7 parks per 10,000 residents and 12 gallons of excess fuel consumed per commuter.  

9. New Orleans, La.

New Orleans has taken new action to rebuild a green environment since Hurricane Katrina passed. The city now offers 200 parks sprawling over 2,000 acres. Overall the city posted a final score of 52.66, with a median air quality of 45, 6.7 parks per 10,000 residents and 13 gallons of excess fuel consumed per commuter. 

8. St. Paul, Minn.

Now to the other half of the Twin Cities, St. Paul hosts more than 20 buildings that are certified by Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, which identifies the world’s greenest and most energy-efficient buildings. Plus, the city is overflowing with more than 170 parks and open spaces and 100 miles of trails. As a result, the city posted a final score of 52.92. a median air quality of 45, 6.5 parks per 10,000 residents and 12 gallons of excess fuel consumed per commuter.

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