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 division 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 2018 certifications:

  • Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 24, 2018 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 2019.

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 – 2017 Green Communities Awards

Chamblee, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Dunwoody, Rockdale, Roswell, and Suwanee received Green Communities Certification in 2017. See why:

Certified Green Communities

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

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

Certified Platinum

Certified Gold

Certified Silver


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 ARC’s Natural Resources group.