Gwinnett, Norcross get certified as 'green'

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett and Norcross were certified Wednesday as “Green Communities.”

The Atlanta Regional Commission bestowed the honor on the two governments Wednesday, along with six other jurisdictions in the metro area.

The voluntary program is designed to encourage government to demonstrate leadership in sustainability and set an example in conserving energy and water, reducing waste, investing in renewable energy and other practices.

“I’m so proud and thankful that the Atlanta Regional Commission has recognized our green initiatives with the Green Communities certification,” Commission Vice Chairwoman Shirley Lasseter said. “Gwinnett County's environmental sustainability program was put in place not only to improve efficiency and reduce costs, but to also urge county staff, businesses and citizens to get involved in making Gwinnett a greener place at work and in our homes. This is a decisive effort on our part to be environmentally conscience for the future of Gwinnett. I am humbled by its beginnings.”

ARC officials lauded the county for auditing more than 100 facilities for energy efficiency, as well as the building of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, a museum whose green architecture is a model for sustainability.

The county was also praised for transportation work that reduces carbon emissions and a project to convert methane gas produced at a county sewage plant into energy.

Norcross got props for starting a farmer’s market, using rain barrels at the city’s history museum, eliminating paper copies and providing recycling at city events. There, yard trimmings are even collected and turned into compost, which is then sold to the city and its residents and businesses.

The Sustainable Norcross Commission also designed policies to require city-owned buildings be built with green standards and a preference for alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles.

“I am very proud of the work that our citizens on the Sustainable Norcross committee, with the support of the entire council, did to achieve this recognition,” Mayor Bucky Johnson said. “These actions and policies will be beneficial to our community for generations to come.”