The 15 Greenest States In America

Earth Day is April 22. This year's campaign is all about environmental and climate literacy. The following list is based on the personal-finance website WalletHub's latest report on 2017's Greenest States. They determined the ranking by comparing all 50 states across three key dimensions: Environmental Quality, Eco-Friendly Behaviors; and Climate-Change Contributions.

15. Wisconsin

When you have a city, the motto of which is "City of Wonderful Water" and has won the "Best of the Best" water that comes from a faucet contest, you can count on the entire state to be eco-conscious. The Badger State also shares the top spot for the highest soil quality. Its overall environmental quality rank is among the best; the state places fifth.

14. Hawaii

The Aloha State is No. 2 in terms of lowest gasoline consumption per capita, No. 4 in lowest energy consumption per capita, and No. 2 in most LEED-certified buildings. Overall in the category of eco-friendly behaviors, which includes solar PV systems installed per household and daily water consumption per capita, Hawaii ranked third.

13. California

With seven national parks and hundreds of deep valleys, grand meadows, vast wilderness areas, waterfalls, caves and caverns, national historic trails, and monuments, it's only expected that the Golden State will do its best to not harm the environment. It ranked No. 3 in highest percentage of recycled municipal waste and lowest energy consumption per capita. 

12. New Jersey

People who only associate grey-looking Newark with New Jersey may be shocked that it made this list. But others may not be surprised to see the state in the Top 15 greenest states; after all, its nickname is the Garden State. It made the cut even though it doesn't do great in one particular area; it got relatively high marks in almost all categories.

11. Maryland

You may not even realize it but some of the new green spaces in the state include a new casino that is LEED-certified from top to bottom. That means a water system that collects storm water and runoff that is reused in lavatories. A separate study by the US Green Building Council ranked the Old Line State third in having the most LEED-certified buildings.

10. Rhode Island

The Ocean State is passing with flying colors in terms of lowest total solid waste per capita (No. 5), highest percentage of recycled municipal solid waste (also No. 5), lowest gasoline consumption per capita (No. 3), and lowest energy consumption per capita (No. 2).

9. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is No. 1 in the most LEED-certified buildings per capita, No. 5 in recycled solid waste, and No. 4 in lowest total municipal solid waste per capita. The state rated well when it comes to overall eco-friendly behaviors. The Granite State also made our list of the most active states in the country.

8. New York

The Empire State ranks the highest in the category of the lowest gasoline consumption per capita, as well as lowest energy consumption per capita. Lake Placid, New Paltz and Montauk, to name a few, make the state one of the best for recreational activities in the country. The Adirondacks is perfect for year-round adventures.

7. Minnesota

With more than 5,000 lakes, river and streams, many biking and hiking trails in the Superior National Forest, the Voyageurs National Park, and remnants of glaciers to explore, you can bet officials and locals will take care of the environment. Minnesota is the state with the third highest water quality, tied for No. 1 for highest soil quality, and second in recycled solid waste.

6. Maine

With a nickname like "The Pine Tree State," you can't be surprised that Maine ranks highly on the list of greenest states in the country. It shares the No. 1 spot for the highest percentage of energy consumption from renewable sources with four other states. Maine is also at the very top of the highest percentage of recycled municipal solid waste.

5. Connecticut

Speaking of water quality, the state with the highest is Connecticut. New England states, in general, tend to have low solid municipal waste, good air quality and high energy efficiency. Connecticut also has strong environmental policies, making sure its residents breathe clean air and drink clean water. The state's overall "environmental quality" rank is seven.

4. Washington

Washington is tied with Oregon at the top when it comes to energy from renewable sources. The state is also at the very top in the "highest soil quality" category and second in "highest water quality." The city of Silverdale is on the list with the safest drinking water in the country. It uses water from a 1,000-foot-deep aquifer that's so pure the utility pumps it directly to homes without treating it.

3. Oregon

Oregon ranked very high in many separate categories. It's fifth in "most LEED-certified buildings per capita" and No. 1 in highest percentage of energy consumption from renewable sources. The Beaver State made our list of the most "outdoorsy" states in America. Oregon wants to be the fittest state in the U.S. by 2021. The stunningly beautiful coastline is best appreciated from off shore, so paddle out and let the view take your breath away.

2. Massachusetts

The Bay State is 12 in the country when it comes to eco-friendly behaviors, seventh in air quality, eighth in LEED-certified buildings per capita, and eighth in energy consumptions per capita. The city has the highest score in energy efficiency.  You won't be surprised to find out that one of the best adventures in the state is to go on a hot air balloon ride above the gorgeous Pioneer Valley.

1. Vermont

Vermont owes its overall No. 1 rating largely to the fact that it's also No. 1 in the "environmental quality" category, which includes clean air, water and soil quality, as well as energy efficiency. The Green Mountain State is second in terms of the most green buildings and transportation, share of recycled solid waste, alternative-fuel vehicles per capita, as well as share of energy consumptions from renewable sources.