Integrate Sound Environmental Principles



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.


  • Decatur
  • Gwinnett County
  • Norcross


  • Alpharetta
  • Atlanta
  • Chamblee
  • Cobb County
  • Roswell
  • Woodstock


  • DeKalb County
  • Douglas County
  • Douglasville
  • Dunwoody
  • Sandy Springs
  • Rockdale County


  • Cherokee County
  • Fulton County
  • Milton
  • Peachtree Corners
  • Suwanee

PLAN IN ACTION: Gwinnett County/City of Woodstock

Gwinnett: The county is acquiring a fleet of alternative fuel/hybrid vehicles

Gwinnett County has  adopted a number of sustainable policies and practices that led it to become the first county certified at the Platinum level. Measures include:

  • Giving preference to alternative fuel and/or hybrid vehicles when purchasing new or replacement vehicles
  • Hosting environmental education programs at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center
  • Passing a policy requiring the installation of native and drought-tolerant plants at multiple facilities
  • Encouraging the reuse of rainwater in government and commercial facilities, as demonstrated at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center and the Mall of Georgia
  • Reclaiming biosolids from the wastewater treatment process and repurposing nutrients as fertilizer

Woodstock: The city has developed plans to encourage ‘smart growth’ elements such as plazas, squares, parks, athletic fields, and community gardens.

The city of Woodstock has been certified at the Gold level for implementing policies and practices that contribute to efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta.

Gwinnett County has  adopted a number of sustainable policies and practices that led it to become the first county certified at the Platinum level. Measures include:

Examples of sustainable measures Woodstock has accomplished include:

  • Offering curbside recycling to all residents
  • Installing a 6.8 kilowatt solar array on the roof of the Chambers at City Center
  • Offering incentives to developers who build green through its Sustainable Woodstock Building Partnership
  • Rewriting its parking ordinance to encourage sustainable parking lot practices, such as permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting and storage, and usage of paving materials that have a high solar reflectance value.
  • Developing plans and policies that provide incentives to encourage smart growth, such as the Town Center LCI plan and the Highway 92 corridor plan



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.

The results:

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:



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

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.



The Metro Water District, staffed by the Atlanta Regional Commission, brings together 15 counties, 92 cities and more than 60 water utilities to implement an array of strategies designed to protect water quality and ensure we continue to manage and use the region’s water in a sustainable manner. Guided by science, data and good stewardship, the Metro Water District establishes integrated and comprehensive strategies to address all aspects of sustainable water management.

Map - Metro Water District

Metro Water Districttarp_img-align-right

 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