Downtown Phoenix (Photo by 123RF)

It’s not easy being green. But six Valley cities seem to be making strides on the environmental scene.

Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Chandler and Gilbert all rank among the top 100 cities across the country that are taking initiatives to encourage an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Using 13 key metrics, a WalletHub study compared the cities going green, homing in on those with the most smart-energy policies, best air quality, “green” jobs, and residents that practice greener lifestyles.

Phoenix ranked the highest among the Arizona cities that made the list for 2015, coming in at number 41 overall. The Valley of the Sun earned a total score of 47.31, getting a 39 – its highest category rank – for Greenness of Energy Sources and a 40 for Green Lifestyle & Local Policies.

Tucson, the second highest ranked Arizona city on the list, came in at number 46, followed by Scottsdale at number 68, Mesa at 85, Glendale at 93, Chandler at 95 and Gilbert at 99.

With a 77.58 total score, New York City topped the overall list at No. 1, scoring high marks in the major categories for the Green Cities study that included: Environmental Quality; Greenness of Transportation, for which the Big Apple earned a first place ranking; Greenness of Energy Sources; and Green Lifestyle & Local Policies.

Portland, Oregon is ranked second on the overall WalletHub list, followed by San Francisco at No. 3, Washington, D.C. at No. 4 and Honolulu at No. 5.

Mesa also managed to score a top 5 ranking in a specific category for Lowest Greenhouse Gases Emissions per Capita. The city ranked fourth after No. 1 ranked Honolulu; Virginia Beach, Virginia at No. 2; and Riverside, California at No. 4.  Arlington, Texas rounded out the top 5 at No. 5 in the category.

WalletHub points out that in addition to its benefits to the environment and public health, “green” practices such as recycling programs and urban agriculture employ Americans and are also good for America’s economy. According to the information gathering site, America’s major cities are seeing significant returns on their investments in the efforts to go green.

– Suzanne Wilson,