Smart Cities Making a Difference

Vote for your favorite of three US cities vying for title of Earth Hour Capital

As first blush, you might think that cities are bad for the environment. After all, they are responsible for over 70% of our planet’s carbon pollution and many still struggle with air pollution, waste management and snarled traffic.

But it turns out that cities have become hotbeds of innovation for solving our most pressing environmental problems—from adapting to climate change and adopting smarter transportation solutions to advancing aggressive efficiency plans and transitioning to 100% renewable electricity.

To support these efforts, WWF launched the Earth Hour City Challenge in 2012. The global initiative recognizes the efforts of our country’s most sustainable cities and, with awards and grants, encourages them to do more.

This year 60 US cities are participating. And three finalists will now compete for the title of Earth Hour Capital: Chicago, Cleveland and Boulder, CO.

See what exciting things each city is doing and vote for your favorite at

Vote for Boulder
Boulder is the first city in the nation to use a climate action tax to fund local low-carbon projects. The city has already awarded $64,000 for solar installations on local nonprofits and affordable housing, and residents can take advantage of a rebate program that cuts of the cost of rooftop solar installations by 15%. Boulder’s citizens also voted to allow the local government to operate their own electricity infrastructure, giving the city the authority and resources to realize its big clean energy goals.

Vote for Chicago
Chicago is taking major strides to slash its carbon footprint. In 2012 Chicago doubled its wind power use and switched its energy supply from coal to natural gas, cutting carbon emissions by 16%, virtually overnight. The city is also home to the nation’s biggest urban solar plant, and is making it easier for citizens to install their own panels with a one-day permitting process.

Vote for Cleveland
Ohio is one of the most coal-dependent regions in the country but Cleveland is looking to change that. Over 65,000 residents now receive their electricity from renewable sources, with 30% of their electricity from in-state wind turbine installations. The city is also looking to build the technologically innovative “Icebreaker Project,” which will be the first offshore wind project in the Great Lakes and able to withstand frigid, icy conditions.