Green Communities Program
Suwanee’s going green-er
The lights at City Hall were turned off for one hour March 27 in celebration of Earth Hour 2010, a global sustainability movement.
Suwanee City Hall, opened in February 2009, was designed to become the second public facility in Gwinnett County to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. And Suwanee is well-known regionally for its award-winning open space initiative and the new parks it created. But now the City is taking its commitment to going green to the next level.
And, Suwanee’s efforts have helped it achieve certification through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) Green Communities Program. In December 2009, the City of Suwanee became the first community in Gwinnett County and one of only nine in metro Atlanta to be ARC-certified green.
Established in 2008, the ARC Green Communities Program is designed to encourage local governments to reduce their environmental footprint through policies and practices and, in turn, encourage citizens and businesses to do the same.
In June 2009, City Council adopted several new policies designed to encourage City employees to modify some daily behaviors. The new sustainable-practices policies include:
No Idling – When not in operation, City vehicles should be turned off (with exemptions for public safety purposes).
Green Fleet – When purchasing new vehicles, the City will make efforts to consider and purchase alternative energy, hybrid, or low-emission vehicles.
Lights Out/Power Down – Office equipment not in use should be turned off when employees leave their offices for extended periods, and equipment that is not used frequently should be unplugged.
Community Bicycle Facilities – Suwanee will provide bicycle racks at City-owned facilities, promoting bicycling as an alternate mode of transportation that helps to reduce traffic and emissions.
Environmental Preferable Purchasing – When purchasing products, the City will consider environmental impact as well as cost.
Shades of green
The City of Suwanee has several well-established green, environmentally friendly policies and practices:
- A recycling program.
- City Hall is designed to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
- Ordinances that progressively address environmental issues.
- Suwanee has been a Tree City USA for 19 years.
- Five new parks have been created to date through the award-winning Open Space Initiative.
- Farmers Market.
- Work is underway to establish a community garden.
- The City enforces Georgia’s energy codes, which promote efficient use of energy.
- Through its ongoing document imaging program, the City has made a commitment to reducing paper use and storage.