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What puts Nevada in the top 20 of America’s greenest states? To be sure, this ranking is by no means a popularity contest, and there is actual science involved in the determinations. Not only is there quantifiable and qualified insights involved, the institutions which make these findings are trusted and among some of the nation’s finest establishments. One such organization is the U.S. Green Building Council. And, it doles out Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification to states according to their properties and attributes on a scale of 1-50. But, this is not the only organization to agree that Nevada is a fairly green state to live in. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy uses a scoreboard to place states accordingly based on their collective environmental efforts.

Likewise, Nevada’s ranking on this scoreboard and Leed certification is not a fluke or coin flip. Many standards and actions are taken into account when ranking a state between 1 and 50 on their green-scale. There are the natural deciding factors such as air, water, and soil quality; but, there are also other determinant factors such as LEED compliant buildings and consumption from recyclable and sustainable sources of material. There are also long-standing standards of measurement such as high and low energy consumption rates across the board. And of course, no environmental ranking would be complete without taking it to account gasoline consumption and total municipal solid waste production. All of these ratings are based on a per-capita basis; states with lower populations will be ranked the same as a state with a high population.

Now, all of these different measurements from data collected boil down to three different ranking categories. The first is environmental quality, the second eco-friendliness, and the third climate change contribution. This is where the devil is in the details, so to speak. Just because the estate is highly rated as far as environmental quality and eco-friendliness are concerned, it does not necessarily rank them highly as far as climate change contributions go.

As a case study, the state of Nevada is interesting to observe. As far as eco-friendliness goes, it is 17th on the list; however, when it comes to environmental quality and the contribution to the environmental change in numbers show the state to be 35 and 14 on the board, respectively. An in-depth statistical analysis of this information is better understood from taking a look for one’s self. This information can be found by following this link. It should be noted that just because the estate is ranking high or low in the contributions to environmental change that does not mean that it is necessarily doing something good or bad.