So says Country Home magazine, which ranked Burlington, Vt., tops among 379 metropolitan areas in a "Best Green Places" survey that rated cities based on air and watershed quality, mass transit use, power use and number of organic producers and farmers' markets.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Green Building Council, the survey rated Ithaca, N.Y., second; Corvallis, Ore.; third, Springfield, Mass., fourth; and Wenatchee, Wash., fifth.
Charlottesville, Va.; Boulder, Colo.; Madison, Wis.; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; rounded out the top 10.
"We thought to ourselves, 'If we could live anywhere in the U.S., where would be the best green place to live?"' said Grant Fairchild, managing editor. "That was the kicking-off point. We thought it would be a fun thing for the readers and fit right in with our theme."
The survey will be published in the magazine's April issue, which hits newsstands March 20. Country Home, with a circulation of about 1.25 million, is a sister publication to Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal.
"It reflects efforts on the part of the city and the people who live here to move in the right direction in terms of being green," said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss. "It's great to have third parties making those assessments recognize it."
Burlington got high marks for the way its people, businesses and government value a green lifestyle and make it a priority, the magazine said.
Among its green assets:
"It's certainly an honor to be called the greenest city in America," said Betsy Rosenbluth, project director for Burlington Legacy, the city's sustainable city initiative.
"Burlington, like Vermont as a state, really understands the connection between our environment and our economy and our social health," she said.