The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) recognized the cities of Norcross, Douglasville and Milton in January for their efforts to lead the way to a greener Atlanta region.
The communities were certified through ARC’s Green Communities program for their commitment to environmental stewardship and their leadership in sustainability practices.
“These local governments are to be commended for making their communities more livable and sustainable places,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC chairman. “Their efforts to conserve energy, reduce waste and protect natural resources set an example for the entire region.”
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 2016 Green Communities honorees achieved the following certification levels:
- City of Norcross – Upgraded to Platinum
- City of Douglasville – Recertified, upgraded to Silver
- City of Milton – Recertified Bronze
Norcross is the second city in the region to be certified at platinum, the highest level. “At the time I was elected, we didn’t even do recycling in city hall,” said Norcross mayor Bucky Johnson. “So I said to myself how can we ask citizens to be sustainable when we’re not leading in that effort?”
The cities earn certification points for a variety of sustainable measures that they implement in their communities. Examples of these measures include:
- City of Norcross – promoting smart growth through its Conservation Subdivision Ordinance and its Livable Centers Initiative plans.
- City of Douglasville – using captured rainwater and supplemental well water for irrigation at Hunter Park and West Pines Golf Club, saving more than 30 million gallons of potable water each year.
- City of Milton – becoming one of only three cities in Georgia to be certified as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat.
Their efforts pay off. The green measures implemented by these three local governments have had the following cumulative impact during the past four years:
- 39 tons of household hazardous waste collected
- 128 million gallons of water saved or reused
- 107 additional acres of protected greenspace
- 62 metric tons of reduced emissions
- 243,000 kWh of energy saved
Norcross, Douglasville and Milton join 19 jurisdictions in the 10-county metro Atlanta region that have become certified Green Communities since 2009. ARC’s Green Communities program is the first program in the country to promote sustainability through a green certification program for local governments.
Learn more about ARC’s 2016 Green Communities honorees: