Green Communities Program

Encouraging Local Governments To Reduce Their Environmental Footprint

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 2022 certifications:

  • Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, 2022 via OneDrive.
  • Applications will be reviewed by ARC staff June through August.
  • Site visits take place September through October. This is subject to change due to COVID-19.
  • Communities are alerted of the final decisions in November.
  • Certified Green Communities announced in January 2023.

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

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 – 2019 Green Communities Awards

Dunwoody, Peachtree Corners, Woodstock and Sandy Springs received Green Communities certification in 2019. 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 

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.

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