Green Communities Program

Encouraging Local Governments To Reduce Their Environmental Footprint

ARC's Green Communities - Leading the Way to Sustainable Living (Logo)

The Green Communities Program is a voluntary certification program that helps local governments implement measures that will reduce their environmental impact. The program aims to create a greener, healthier and more livable region. To achieve this, the program is designed to help local governments:

  • Reduce the environmental impact of the government through its buildings, fleets and practices
  • Encourage their community to reduce its environmental impact
  • Provide public education and outreach on sustainability issues

Benefits of Green Community Certification:

  • Fosters civic pride
  • Creates a positive image of a place to live or conduct business
  • Sets an example for business and organizations seeking to reduce their environmental impact
  • Leads to greater quality of life

How to Apply

Local governments are encouraged to contact ARC’s Natural Resources Group at least six months prior to submitting an application to learn more about the certification process. The following documents explain the certification review and application process:

Green Communities Manual and Application Package

Application timeline for 2020 certifications:

  • Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 21, 2020 via electronic submission or mail.
  • Applications will be reviewed by ARC staff June through August.
  • Site visits take place September through October.
  • Advisory Review Team reviews applications in October.
  • Certified Green Communities announced in January 2020.

Educational Resources (includes green tip sheets and links to national and local resources).

Green Grants Calendar and Regional Green Events Calendar

The Green Communities Certification Process

Local governments earn certification points in the program by implementing sustainable policies and practices in the following categories:

  • Green Building
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Green Power
  • Water Use Reduction and Efficiency
  • Trees and Greenspace
  • Transportation
  • Recycling and Waste Reduction
  • Land Use
  • Education
  • Innovation

Based on the points earned, local governments may attain four levels of Green Communities Certification:

  • Platinum: 330 – 435 points
  • Gold: 280 – 329 points
  • Silver: 230 – 279 points
  • Bronze: 175 – 229 points

VIDEO – 2018 Green Communities Awards

Alpharetta, Chamblee, Cherokee, Decatur, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Sandy Springs received Green Communities certification in 2018. See why:

Certified Green Communities

In metro Atlanta, 20 local governments – 13 cities and seven counties – are currently certified under the Green Communities program.

Green Communities Summary of Achievements 

See what each of the Green Communities did to receive certification at the following levels:

Certified Platinum

Certified Gold

Green Communities Story Map

This map highlights just some of the green initiatives that certified Green Communities have implemented to lighten their environmental footprints. Many of these exemplify ways anyone can go green — at home and in the workplace.

Network + Knowledge

Want to learn more and meet members from our Green Communities program? Attend one of our quarterly Network+Knowledge sessions to hear the first-hand work our local governments do for a more eco-friendly region.

Green Matters E-Newsletter

Green Matters is an e-newsletter designed to give you a glimpse of important sustainability initiatives and funding opportunities happening around the metro Atlanta region and beyond. Sign up today!

Past Issues

For more information about Green Communities, contact Kelsey Waidhas with ARC’s Natural Resources Group.