Which States Are the "Greenest" and Least Green?
The 2011 results are in for Greenopia's Green State Guide and, with few exceptions, the usual suspects occupy the top and bottom positions. Vermont (true to license plate) is the greenest state in the US and West Virginia (true to major industry) is the least green.
According to Greenopia, Vermont has: Extremely good air quality, above average water quality and recycling rates, a great number of LEED registered or certified buildings (when scaled against Vermont's 620,000 people), good per capita energy consumption, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Rounding out the top eleven spots, all get a four-leaf rating, were New York, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, California, Nevada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Hawaii.
At the other end of the scale, West Virginia dropped one place from last year to receive the lowest ranking. Other than having better than average air quality and a "very good per capita waste generation rate," negative environmental performance dominates:
West Virginia has a below average recycling rate at only about 15%, while the national average is close to double that. West Virginia does not have a lot of green businesses and LEED buildings (registered or certified) even when you scale them against its relatively small population. West Virginia is also amongst the worst states in terms of per capita emissions, water consumption, and energy consumption. West Virginia was also amongst our worst performers in renewable energy sourcing.
Also at the bottom, ranking 43-49 were: Delaware, Alaska, North Dakota, Kentucky, Wyoming, Indiana, and Louisiana.
In the greatest changes in ranking category: Pennsylvania, which dropped 14 places from last year to 31st place; Idaho, which climbed 16 places to 15th overall.