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California Cities Dominate Clean Tech Metro Index

Six of the top seven metro regions leading on a combined index evaluating green buildings, advanced transportation, clean electricity and other sustainability factors are on the west coast.

In Clean Edge’s inaugural US Metro Clean Tech Index, which analyzed the 50 largest US metro regions across the clean tech spectrum, San Jose, Calif., had a clean tech leadership score of 82.2, enough to edge out San Francisco for the top spot. Portland, Ore.; Sacramento; and Seattle rounded out the top five metro regions in the index.

The Metro Clean Tech Index evaluates metro areas across four categories: green buildings; advanced transportation; clean electricity and carbon management; and clean tech investment, innovation and workforce. The quantitative metrics are balanced out to account for population size, Clean Edge said.

San Jose received the top score largely due to the metro area’s role as an innovation hub, its performance in patent activity, university technology development and electric and hybrid vehicle deployment. The metro region also ranked first in concentration of clean tech venture capital investments.

San Francisco, with a score of 81.4, ranked in the top 10 and often in the top five in almost every metro index indicator. The city and its surrounding Bay Area communities are home to the highest concentration of LEED-certified buildings, draw the cleanest electricity from the grid for local consumption and use highly efficient personal and public transportation, Clean Edge said.

San Francisco also has led the ranking of top metro areas in the US for clean tech jobs for several years, according to previous reports from Clean Edge.

Birmingham, Ala. had the lowest score of 2.9  among the 50 metro regions ranked in the index, followed by New Orleans with a score of 3.6. Memphis; Richmond, Va.; and Jacksonville, Fla. rounded out the bottom five of the index.

Some 87 percent of all US clean tech venture capital from 2009 through 2011 went to companies headquartered in the top 50 metro regions.

The top 50 metro regions also account for 72 percent of LEED-certified square footage, more than 70 percent of US company clean energy patents and more than 90 percent of the nation’s registered hybrid electric vehicles.

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