Suwanee to go even greener

SUWANEE - The city of Suwanee, which has come to be known as this region's "greenest" community, recently announced a new initiative expected to take the city's eco-friendly reputation to the next level. In a June 25 council meeting, city leaders adopted numerous policies designed to help the city earn certification through the Atlanta Regional Commission's Green Communities Program.

The new policies are intended to help city employees change the way they think and encourage behavior modification. For example, when a city vehicle is not in use, it should be turned off - not left idling. When office equipment is not in use for extended periods of time, it should be turned off or unplugged.

City employees are now also encouraged to purchase environmentally friendly, cost-effective products.

Community bicycle facilities will be provided at city-owned places to promote biking as an alternate mode of transportation. And when purchasing new vehicles, agents will consider and, when it makes sense, purchase alternative energy, hybrid or low-emission vehicles.

"We're not attempting to re-tilt the world," said Wes Rogers, Suwanee's senior environmental planner. "In many ways, Suwanee is already a green city. We're simply taking it to the next level and acknowledging that there are some things that we can do to use our environmental resources more effectively."

While the newly adopted policies are not carved in stone, they are intended to encourage city employees, and hopefully its residents, to be aware of how decisions and actions ultimately have a very real impact on the environment.

Suwanee's new city hall building, which opened in February, was designed and built to be the county's second public facility to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The city of nearly 17,000 residents also boasts an award-winning open space initiative and several new parks.

"We're working to make Suwanee, literally, a cooler place to live," Rogers said.