Houston tied with five other cities for the worst greenhouse gas emissions.. Photo via Getty Images

Houston may be the energy capital of the world, but it apparently isn't the capital of "greenness."

The Bayou City lands at No. 93 among the 100 largest U.S. cities in a new WalletHub ranking of the country's greenest places. Houston held the same spot in last year's ranking. Aside from being the eighth worst city in the 2021 study, Houston is the lowest-ranked city in Texas.

To determine the cities promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 28 key "green" indicators. Those factors include greenhouse gas emissions per capita, number of smart energy policies and initiatives, and green job opportunities.

Unfortunately, Houston's overall showing isn't impressive. Here is a sampling, with No. 1 being best, No. 50 being average, and No. 100 being worst:

  • Excess fuel consumption per year, No. 97.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions per capita, No. 94. Houston tied with five other cities for the worst greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Median air quality index, No. 72.
  • Share of commuters who drive, No. 54.
  • Percentage of green space, No. 37.
  • Farmers markets per capita, No. 35.
  • Walkability, No. 34.

Here is how other Texas cities fared:

  • Austin, No. 26.
  • Garland, No. 44.
  • San Antonio, No. 46
  • Laredo, No. 68.
  • El Paso, No. 69.
  • Irving, No. 74.
  • Plano, No. 79.
  • Lubbock, No. 83.
  • Arlington, No. 85.
  • Dallas, No. 89.
  • Corpus Christi, No. 90.

San Diego tops the WalletHub list.As Houston hangs out toward the bottom of the WalletHub ranking, government and business leaders in the region are striving to make Houston greener.

For instance, the City of Houston in August launched a pilot project that will speed up the permitting process for environmentally friendly stormwater projects.

And just this month, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declared October 6 as Energy Efficiency Day. The occasion encouraged residents and businesses to support the city's clean energy goals. "Implementing energy efficiency measures is the cheapest, fastest, and cleanest way to reduce Houston's energy demand," the mayor's office says.

In a news release, Laura Patiño, the city's interim chief resilience officer, says Houston must come up with solutions to combat climate change, ensure a "just and equitable" transition to clean energy, and "promote economic growth in an inclusive and transparent manner."

Despite the poor performance in the WalletHub study, Houston continues to make headway in green energy.

For example, Turner in August touted Houston's status as the No. 1 municipal entity in the U.S. for the most annual consumption of power from renewable sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list features participants in its Green Energy Partnership.

In a news release, Turner said the EPA recognition is "great news for the city of Houston and, by extension, for the rest of the world. We are going big to set the example for cities around the world. If 100 percent renewable energy can happen in Houston, it can happen in any other city."

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Why this Houston health care professional jumped in the founder seat to disrupt the industry

problem solver

Ayoade Joy Ademuyewo says that anesthesiology is “the coolest thing in the world.” That’s why she became a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

And that career, which she says is “the perfect blend of science and art,” led to the creation of her startup, Lokum.

Lokum App is a matchmaking engine that aims to connect Ademuyewo’s peers with jobs. She explains that before her innovation, staffing for nurse anesthetists traditionally owed to job boards 30 years older than she was or to recruitment agencies that left them at a disadvantage.

“I didn't want to use that job board because it was sort of difficult to use and I didn't want to use it and a lot of other people felt the same way,” she recalls.

When a desperate friend asked for her help navigating the terrain of finding CRNA work as an independent contractor, Ademuyewo says the wheels began turning in her mind.

“I just thought, 'Why can't I open up my phone and see all of the available jobs to me, based on my preferences and my skills? And I can easily select from them to go to my next job.' And that's sort of where the questions started. And I just kept asking those questions. And I think about two or three years into asking the questions I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I think I'm starting a company,'” Ademuyewo says.

In the hours that she wasn’t in surgery, the CRNA began doing market research.

“As I was studying the market, and mapping it out, these really complex mind maps started to happen. And it was almost a natural conclusion that the more you understand the problem, the more the solution starts to appear to you,” she explains.

And she saw that the obvious solution was also potentially a big opportunity for her to create something entirely new — neither a job board nor an agency, but something entirely new. Ademuyewo calls Lokum a “matchmaking engine.” It takes the preferences, specialties and skills of CRNAs like her and matches them to jobs that make sense for them. To date, the pilot has connected users with around 200 hospitals and clinics in 20 states.

Fortunately, because there are so few CRNAs in practice, they are a unified bunch.

“It’s a really well-networked profession,” says Ademuyewo. “ I'm lucky to be in a profession where what we do is really special and really specialized.”

Because she was already part of the tight knit community, the founder had no trouble finding pilot customers. She worked with Houston-based Octaria Software to engineer the technical side of the app, as well as another local cybersecurity firm to work on infrastructure.

Lots of big news has come for Ademuyewo in the first half of 2024. She participated in this year’s cohort of the Google for Startups Accelerator Program-North America, which she says helped to gain traction in her fundraising amid a bear market.

The result? Early this month, Lokum announced a raise of $700,000 in pre-seed funding, which will be allocated to improving and enhancing the existing technology. Those funds came from Houston investors including Aileen Allen, of the Houston Angel Network, Mercury, and The Artemis Fund; and Matt Miller, former Liongard product executive, as well as from Houston-based VC firm South Loop Ventures. More came from the non-local JP Morgan and Techstars.

Today, Ademuyewo is devoted full-time to Lokum, though she still practices her favorite combination of science and art on weekends in order to maintain her licensure.

“I will always be clinical, that will never change,” she says. “Part of that is just staying close to the problem and the people who are experiencing it, I think that is exactly the right thing for me to be doing.”

Houston energy company opens applications for unique energy tech startup pilot program

calling all innovators

Houston-based NOV is launching a new growth-stage startup accelerator focused on the upstream oil and gas industry.

NOV, a provider of oil and gas drilling and production operations equipment, has announced its new NOV Supernova Accelerator in collaboration with VentureBuilder, a consulting firm, investor, and accelerator program operator led by a group of Houston innovators.

Applications to the program are open online, and the deadline to apply is July 7. Specifically, NOV is looking for companies working on solutions in data management and analytics, operational efficiency, HSE monitoring, predictive maintenance, and digital twins.

The five-month program establishes a significant relationship between the 20 selected startups and NOV, beginning with paid pilot programs.

"This is not a traditional startup accelerator. This is often a first-client relationship to help disruptive startups refine product-market fit and creatively solve our pressing enterprise problems," reads the program's website.

Selected startups will have direct access to NOV's team and resources. The program will require companies to spend one week per month in person at NOV headquarters in Houston and will provide support surrounding several themes, including go-to-market strategy, pitch practice, and more.

“The NOV Supernova Accelerator offers a strategic approach where the company collaborates with startups in a vendor-client relationship to address specific business needs," says Billy Grandy, general partner of VentureBuilder.vc, in a statement. "Unlike mergers and acquisitions, the venture client model allows corporations like NOV to quickly test and implement new technologies without committing to an acquisition or risking significant investment.”

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.