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Green without envy

Popular Science Magazine has named Syracuse one of America's 50 Greenest Cities. Syracuse was ranked 17th, with a score of 18.9 out of 30 possible points.

"Popular Science has a very specific rating system," said Martin Wall of the Syracuse Center of Excellence. "And if you look at our place in the rankings, Syracuse is knocking on the doors of some of the country's biggest cities, where people are already thinking green."

According to popsci.com (Popular Science Magazine's Web site), the rankings were determined by information collected from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society's Green Guide.

American cities of over 100,000 people were surveyed in more than 30 different categories, including air quality, electricity usage and transportation habits. These statistics were then complied into four broad categories.

It's electric

The first category is electricity. Syracuse earned a 7.0 out of 10 possible points. This score is determined by a city's use of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power.

"All residents have the option to enroll in our GreenUp Program," said Alberto Bianchetti, a National Grid spokesman.

The GreenUp Program is a collaborative effort between National Grid, renewable energy firms, state government agencies and environmental groups. Under the program, an eligible National Grid customer can select a renewable energy option from one of several participating renewable energy suppliers.

"About 24,000 customers have enrolled in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island," Bianchetti said.

Move it

The second category is transportation. Syracuse earned a 4.9 out of 10 possible points. This category pertains to a city's public transportation usage and carpooling. Air quality also plays a role in this category, which Wall said "shows our air quality is getting better."

"The city's ranking speaks to the way businesses are moving toward cleaner technology," said Wall, who highlighted Centro's hybrid busses and National Grid's renewable energy sources as great examples of this. "Too often when people from outside of the area think of Syracuse, they think, 'Isn't that that city with the polluted lake?' This shows that that's not the case.

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