DeKalb, several cities become gold level green communities

DeKalb County was announced as a gold level member of Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) Green Communities Program on Jan. 18, which a news release states demonstrates “the county’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and leadership in sustainability practices.”
City of Brookhaven—a new member of the Green Communities Program—joined DeKalb and city of Dunwoody as the three local communities moving into the gold category.

The new rankings move DeKalb up from its previously recognized bronze level status, recertifies Dunwoody as a gold level member, and adds Brookhaven to the green communities list as a gold level member.

The news release states that DeKalb took several measures to reach the gold level status, such as:

• Adopting a resolution to achieve 100 percent renewable energy for county electricity use by 2035, including at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2025 and 100 percent renewable energy for DeKalb County communitywide electricity supply by 2045.
• Ensuring parking lots are shaded by requiring that a minimum of one overstory tree per eight parking spaces is planted, and no parking space is more than 40 feet from a shade tree.
• Replacing more than 27,000 high-intensity discharge streetlights with LED streetlights, to save money and energy.
• Creating a healthy tree canopy by planting new trees in residential front yards and public properties via the “ReLeaf DeKalb” program.
• Participating in the national Municipal Measurement Program to track and measure the effectiveness of its solid waste and recycling programs.

In metro Atlanta, 20 local governments—14 cities and six counties, including city of Chamblee, city of Decatur, and city of Atlanta—are certified under ARC’s Green Communities Program. A news release states that the program was the first in the country to promote sustainability through a green certification for local governments.
The voluntary certification program “helps local governments implement measures that will reduce their environmental impact.” ARC’s website states that the program fosters civic pride, creates a positive image, sets an example for private businesses, and raises quality of life.

“We are happy to highlight local governments who are greening their facilities, greening their fleets, and putting in place policies and ordinances that would make their communities more environmentally sustainable,” said ARC Natural Resources Managing Director Danny Johnson. “This voluntary certification leads the way to healthy, livable, and resilient communities, which we hope inspires others across the nation.”

All winners earned certification points for sustainable measures implemented in their communities.

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