The city of Sandy Springs was one of seven local governments to be recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta. The city was honored for becoming a Bronze Certified Green Community at ARC’s January Board meeting. This is the first time that the city has achieved certification.
ARC recognized the city of Sandy Springs, along with two other cities – Decatur and Alpharetta, and Cherokee, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, which either renewed or upgraded certification in ARC’s five-year-old Green Communities program.
Some of the actions Sandy Springs took to become certified include:
- Conducting energy audits that resulted in the city initiating the replacement of inefficient light bulbs with more energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs within city buildings.
- Building a 2,000 gallon propane auto gas fueling station. Currently, 68 vehicles have been converted to use both propane and gasoline, with a fleet average of 93 percent propane usage. An additional 18 vehicles are scheduled for conversion.
- Initiating the development of a citywide Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trail Plan in fall 2013. The city’s bike and pedestrian policies are also guided by its Transportation Master Plan and Sidewalk Improvement Program. The city has invested over eight million dollars in the last five years to build new sidewalks. It also recently opened the Abernathy Greenway multiuse trail.
- Revising its Zoning Ordinance in 2013 in order to require all new developments to install electric vehicle charging stations. Developers are now required to install 1 electrical charging station for every 100 spaces, and at least one station per parking lot, if under 100 spaces.
ARC developed the Green Communities Program to foster greater environmental stewardship and to recognize local governments that invest in programs leading to a more sustainable region. The nationally recognized program showcases the ways in which local governments are helping to transform the region by reducing their environmental footprint. Since 2009, 18 jurisdictions in the 10-county region have been certified. Cities and counties earn Green Communities certification by implementing practices and policies in 10 categories, ranging from energy efficiency and green building to transportation and water efficiency. ARC’s Green Communities program was the first program in the country seeking to transform a region by promoting sustainability through a “green” certification program for local governments.
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