ARC certification recognizes sustainability efforts by local governments

DeKalb County is one of the greenest counties in Georgia, and has the credentials to prove it. CEO Burrell Ellis announced today that DeKalb has been certified a “green community” by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). With the designation, DeKalb becomes one of only three counties and six cities, including the City of Decatur, in Georgia to earn the designation.

“We are honored to be recognized by the ARC for our green efforts in the county. All of our initiatives, from our Green Commission to our environmentally-friendly policies, work together to enhance the quality of life for our more than 740,000 citizens,” said CEO Ellis. “In DeKalb County, we are taking the lead on sustainability and with this certification, we are one step closer to being the greenest county in America.”

ARC’s Green Communities program is designed to encourage local governments to demonstrate leadership on environmental sustainability. Certified Green Communities set an example by conserving energy, investing in renewable energy, conserving water, conserving fuel, reducing waste, and protecting and restoring the community’s natural resources.

Communities are judged in 10 categories—green building, energy efficiency, green power, water use reduction and efficiency, trees and greenspace, transportation, recycling and water reduction, land use, education, and innovation—and earn points based on the difficulty and overall impact of the sustainability effort.

DeKalb is certified at the bronze level for its green projects and programs including the Gregory Adams Juvenile Justice Center, which is the county’s first LEED certified building and the state’s first LEED certified courthouse; Seminole Landfill’s conversion of methane gas to electricity; and the county’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing and Lights Out/Power Down policies.

“We are working to clean up brownfields and underutilized shopping centers; we have placed a priority on transit-oriented and mixed-use communities that reduce traffic and promote affordable housing options; we are developing incentives to create new green communities; and we are focused on maintaining our long-term commitment to sustainability,” said CEO Ellis.

The ARC launched the Green Communities certification program earlier this year and is the only organization in the country that promotes sustainability through a green certification program for local governments.