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County going green
Gwinnett joins Energy Star

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett's government is going green.

Commissioners voted this week to become an Energy Star partner and to create initiatives and policies to conserve energy and water, including in the construction of an expansion to the courthouse.

The effort could save $1 million a year in utility costs, reducing the county's energy consumption by 10 percent.

Dennis Baxter, the county's environmental sustainability program coordinator, said the initiative could keep 15,000 to 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

Replacing older plumbing in county facilities with high-efficiency fixtures and ultra low-flow toilets, as well as limiting irrigation, could reduce water consumption by 15 million gallons, Baxter said That could save $100,000 each year in water bills.

The county will also be working on initiatives for green building, air quality and transportation, recycling and waste reduction.

"With specific goals in mind for this new program, we are not simply following the 'green' trend but taking a hard look at day-to-day operations to find real ways to reduce costs and minimize our impact on the environment," Commissioner Bert Nasuti said.