ARC Recognizes Six Green Communities for Continued Commitment to Sustainability

Staff Report

Friday, January 13th, 2023

The Atlanta Regional Commission announced that Cherokee, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties and the cities of Chamblee, Decatur, and Suwanee have been certified through the agency’s Green Communities Program for demonstrating leadership in sustainability practices.

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 2022 Green Communities have played an instrumental role in moving metro Atlanta towards greater sustainability and environmental resilience through innovative and community-informed projects,” said Natural Resources Managing Director Katherine Zitsch. “These communities demonstrate exemplary dedication to building a stronger, greener region.”

The 2022 Green Communities honorees achieved the following certification levels:

City of Chamblee – Upgraded to Platinum
City of Decatur – Recertified Platinum
City of Suwanee – Upgraded to Silver
Cherokee County – Upgraded to Silver
Fulton County – Upgraded to Gold
Gwinnett County – Recertified Platinum
The winners earned certification points for sustainable measures implemented in their communities. Examples of measures that were awarded certification points include:

City of Chamblee – Requiring all new developments over 20,000 square feet in size to obtain a third-party sustainable building certification.
City of Decatur – Partnering with Agnes Scott College to develop a Climate Resilience Plan, which has become a model for other “town-and-gown” collaborations in the U.S.
City of Suwanee – Working with Georgia Power to retrofit all existing streetlights with LED lamps, which use 50% – 75% less energy.
Cherokee County – Purchasing a glass pulverizer to turn glass collected at the county’s recycling center into material that can be used by its roads department for various infrastructure projects, saving over $11,000 per year in recycling costs.
Fulton County – Executing a 20-year Solar Energy Procurement Agreement (SEPA) that enables the county to procure solar energy without any upfront capital investment and offset electricity consumption and carbon emissions by about 25% at a reliable and competitive rate compared to traditional electricity service providers.
Gwinnett County – Developing “The Water Tower,” a new center for water innovation with a mission to bring together the public and private sectors of the water industry, side by side with academia and nonprofits to tackle the industry’s greatest challenges.
In metro Atlanta, 16 local governments — 11 cities and five counties — are currently certified under ARC’s Green Communities Program. This is the first program in the country to promote sustainability through a green certification program for local governments.

More information about ARC’s Green Communities certification program is available at