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Two Valley cities ranked in top 10 least green cities in America

(Creative Commons)

PHOENIX — There isn’t much green in the Valley compared to other parts of the country.

But an abundance of luscious grass and vegetation wasn’t necessarily the type of green that a personal finance website was looking for in a recent ranking.

WalletHub ranked two Valley cities in the top 10 least green cities in the nation, in terms of sustainability and environmental health.

“We compared 100 of the largest cities in the U.S. across 30 different indicators of greenness,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“So that ranges from greenhouse gas emissions per capita to the number of smart energy policies and initiatives, and green job opportunities.”

Gilbert and Mesa were ranked 95th and 96th, respectively.

Scottsdale (No. 35), Phoenix (No. 48), Chandler (No. 80) and Glendale (No. 86) rounded out the six Valley cities, while Tucson also made the list at No. 45.

The rankings were compiled based on four categories: transportation, environment, energy sources, and lifestyle and policy.

Transportation was based on the number of people who drive cars alone, commute time by car, how many commuters walk or bike, fuel consumption, alternative fuel and job accessibility via public transit.

Mesa and Gilbert were nearly ranked as the two worst cities in the category at No. 98 and No. 99, respectively.

Tucson came in at No. 32, followed closely by Phoenix at No. 42, Scottsdale at No. 58, Glendale at No. 84 and Chandler at No. 70.

The environment category was judged based on air quality index, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, daily water consumption, population density and pollution level.

Gilbert (No. 86) and Mesa (No. 88) continued to struggle, as the two suburbs finished as the lowest of all the Arizona cities.

“It really comes down to things like air quality, which could be a lot better in Gilbert and Mesa in terms of particles in the air,” Gonzalez said.

“Neither of these cities have a lot of green space — around 2.8% in Gilbert, 3.5% in Mesa. So obviously more green space could really help that air quality. And when it comes to daily water consumption, that’s very high in these places as well.”

Gilbert ranked 92nd when it comes to its percentage of green space.

Scottsdale — which has the fourth-highest green space percentage — took home the crown for Arizona, finishing No. 15 in the category, with Tucson (No. 39), Glendale (No. 69), Chandler (No. 70) and Phoenix (No. 75) trailing behind.

The energy sources category used renewable electricity sources, solar photovoltaic installation and smart energy to determine its rankings.

This was Gilbert’s best category, as the suburb finished tied for 56th with Scottsdale, Chandler and Glendale.

Phoenix finished with the highest energy sources rank at No. 36, followed by Tucson (No. 61) and Mesa (No. 72).

Lifestyle and policy was judged based on farmers markets, organic farms, green job opportunities, green energy use and plastic bag bans.

This was Mesa’s best category after having been deemed the 60th-best city.

Scottsdale was named the Arizona victor at No. 50, but not by much. Chandler and Phoenix finished right behind at No. 51 and No. 52, respectively, with Tucson (No. 54), Gilbert (No. 67) and Glendale (No. 95) rounding out the list.

San Francisco was crowned as the greenest city in America, while Baton Rouge, Louisiana, finished last at No. 100.

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