ARC’s Green Communities Program is a voluntary certification program designed to encourage local governments in the 10-county Atlanta to adopt more sustainable policies and practices and reduce their overall environmental footprint. Jurisdictions earn points toward certification levels by taking such steps as conserving energy, investing in renewable energy, conserving water, reducing waste and protecting or restoring the community’s natural resources.
PLAN IN ACTION: Decatur – A Certified “Platinum” Green Community
Decatur: Scott Park Community Garden
Decatur has adopted a number of sustainable policies and practices that led the DeKalb County city to be the one of the first communities to be certified as a Green Community in 2010. The city reaffirmed its commitment to being green in 2014, when it recertified as a Green Community at the Platinum level – the first local government to do so.
Adopting the Decatur Grows Greener Environmental Sustainability Plan after extensive community input. The plan outlines 12 goals and several strategies that city should take to deepen its commitment to serving as good stewards of the environment and community resources.
Supporting several community gardens with financial and in-kind support including: Decatur High School Garden, Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, Oakhurst Garden, Scott Garden, Sugar Creek Community Garden, Tanyard Creek Community Garden, and Umurima Wa Burundi (Burundi Women’s Garden.) Created Community Garden Guidelines to streamline the process for new community garden proposals.
Making recycling available at all city facilities and requiring employees to sign the Lights Out/Power Down policy and the No-Idling pledge
Conducting energy audits on 100 percent of its facilities
Renovating buildings to LEED standards
Entering city buildings into the Energy Star Portfolio Manager utility tracking system
Achieving LEED silver certification for Fire Station #2, which uses 25 percent less water and 35 percent less energy than a standard building of the same size. Educational materials throughout the building explain the benefits of its many sustainable features, including LED lights, a cool roof and solar panels.
Partnering with the city’s schools in a Safe Routes to School Program that encourages elementary and middle school children to walk and bicycle to school and to make the trips to school safer.
Completing a Community Forest Master Plan and Street Tree Canopy Assessment as a first step towards pursuing a maintenance program for sustaining Decatur’s community forests.
HELPING THE REGION CONSERVE WATER
The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District’s integrated management plan is instrumental in making water conservation a priority in north Georgia. This plan details 19 aggressive water conservation measures that are being implemented by local utilities, helping the region save water and sustainability manage our supplies.
Since 2000, total water use in the region has dropped by more than 10 percent, even as the population has increased by 1 million. Per capita water use in the Metro Water District has dropped by more than 30 percent since 2000.
30% per capita decrease in water usage since 2000
The Atlanta region’s water conservation measures include:
Toilet Rebate Program
More than 100,000 older, inefficient toilets have been replaced with water-sipping models, saving more than 2.4 million gallons of water per day
A tiered rate structures – the more you use, the more you pay – for single-family residences encourages water conservation
Utilities are implementing new ways to find and fix leaks, such as use of sonar to inspect pipes
Car Wash Recycling
Requires all new drive-through car washes to recycle water, reducing water use by 35 percent
TAKING AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO WATER MANAGEMENT
The Metro Water District is continually refining its approach to integrated water planning. The District and its member governments understand that water is one system – and must be managed as such. The District’s integrated approach to water supply, conversation and efficiency, stormwater and wastewater considers and seeks to improve our understanding of the impacts, efficiencies and effectiveness, including interdependencies and trade‐offs, of a particular action or set of actions.
PLAN IN ACTION: Clayton County Wetlands
Clayton County Water Authority wetlands
Challenged with both low supply and a need for increased wastewater treatment capacity, the Clayton County Water Authority constructed wetlands to further treat its wastewater so it can be safely released into a reservoir downstream.
It is the policy of ARC to:
Mitigate the impacts of impaired air quality
Advance technologies and strategies that improve energy efficiency and use renewable sources
Plan for the impacts of extreme weather events on community services and
infrastructure, including system resiliency
Protect natural resources to attract and retain people and businesses
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Healthy Livable Communities – Goals and Action Items
GOAL: DEVELOPING ADDITIONAL WALKABLE, VIBRANT CENTERS, THAT SUPPORT PEOPLE OF ALL AGES AND ABILITIES