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ARC Recognizes Seven Communities for their Commitment to Sustainability

Posted on: Jan 23, 2019

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

(ATLANTA, January 23, 2019) The Atlanta Regional Commission announced today that Cherokee, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties and the cities of Alpharetta, Chamblee, Decatur, and Sandy Springs have been certified through the agency’s Green Communities program for demonstrating leadership in sustainability practices.

“These seven communities are making significant strides in reducing their environmental footprint,” said ARC chairman Kerry Armstrong. “They are creating a greener region through cleaner water, less energy use, reduced waste, and restored natural resources. Their efforts serve as a model for communities across metro Atlanta that are looking to become more sustainable.”

ARC developed the Green Communities program in 2009 to recognize local governments that invest in programs and policies that lead to a more sustainable region. The nationally-recognized program showcases the many ways that local governments can reduce their environmental footprint.

The 2018 Green Communities honorees achieved the following certification levels:

  • Cherokee County — Recertified Bronze
  • Fulton County — Recertified Bronze
  • Gwinnett County — Recertified, upgraded to Platinum
  • City of Alpharetta — Recertified Gold
  • City of Chamblee — Upgraded to Gold
  • City of Decatur — Recertified Platinum
  • City of Sandy Springs — Recertified, upgraded to Silver

All winners earned certification points for sustainable measures implemented in their communities. Examples of the measures that were awarded certification points include:

  • City of Alpharetta — Developed City Center, home to a new City Hall, on a city-remediated brownfield site that was a former gas and service station.
  • City of Chamblee — Developed a comprehensive, incentivized commute options program for employees who commute via transit, carpool, vanpool, bicycling, or walking.
  • City of Decatur — Conducted energy audits on 100% of its facilities. As a result, many buildings have been renovated to meet LEED standards.
  • City of Sandy Springs — Constructed a “smart” parking deck at its City Springs development.
  • Cherokee County — Permanently protected an estimated 23,800 acres of greenspace, which equates to approximately 105 acres of greenspace per 1,000 residents.
  • Fulton County — Set a goal of achieving LEED certification for all its new and renovated library branches.
  • Gwinnett County — Developed a way to create green power by capturing and using methane gas produced through its sewage treatment process at the F. Wayne Hill Water Reclamation Center.

In the past four years alone, these seven communities have had the combined impact of:

  • Adding 503 acres of protected greenspace
  • Reducing utility bills by $658,000
  • Diverting over 190,000 tons of waste from landfills
  • Saving or reusing 50 million gallons of water

In metro Atlanta, 20 local governments — 13 cities and seven counties — are currently certified under ARC’s Green Communities program. Now in its tenth year, it is the first program in the country to promote sustainability through a green certification for local governments at the regional level.

More information about ARC’s Green Communities certification program, including the measures each community has implemented, is available at

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The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 73 other cities. ARC serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.


Kate Sweeney