Cobb County Georgia Goes Green

Yes, the landscape is lush, but that is not the only reason that Cobb County Georgia is green.

Cobb County is the first government in Georgia to achieve silver certification as a Green Community by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The ARC on Wednesday announced the first three governments to achieve Green Communities certification through the new certification system. The cities of Alpharetta and Decatur both achieved bronze certification.

“The most important thing in this was the improvement you provide your residents,” said Cobb Chairman Sam Olens, who chairs the ARC. “This is about being better for the environment and improving things for your citizens … I hope to see more governments participate. We can all learn from each other.”

Olens said the genesis of the program was the water conservation efforts during the drought. The program was expanded to include areas such as transportation, energy efficiency, education and outreach, green space and recycling.

The certification program allows jurisdictions to gain points by implementing sustainable polices and practices. Each measure is worth five or 10 points, depending on difficulty and overall impact. Silver certification requires at least 225 points.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners adopted a Sustainable Practices Policy in February, aimed at specifying environmentally friendly design requirements and operational practices for county property, vehicles and equipment.

The policy includes providing bicycle racks at community buildings such as libraries, places an emphasis on purchasing Energy Star-related appliances and office equipment, and implements a “lights out” program where all non-essential lighting and office equipment is turned off during nights, weekends and holidays.

In 2008, commissioners also adopted policies regarding retrofitting restroom fixtures, green buildings and environmental purchasing. The county installed high efficiency plumbing and fixtures in 96 county facilities.

Chuck Hunt, program coordinator in Cobb’s property management department, said the county isn’t finished finding ways to be environmentally conscious.

“There is a sense that Cobb wants to be in the leadership position on this,” Hunt said. “We are always looking to see where we can improve … this program was the genesis that got us to do things we were halfway doing before.”

Kudos to Cobb County’s leadership for taking the initiative to improve the quality of life for its residents and for community as a whole.

Author:Anne Ortiz (Maximum One Realty Greater Atlanta)