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Alpharetta Energy Star Strategy

Green Communities Press

The Alpharetta City Council adopted the Alpharetta Green City Program in early 2009 as a comprehensive document for all the city’s sustainable policies and practices. A variety of measures are incorporated in the Green City Program, including LEED or EnergyStar certification for all new local government buildings, a green fleet policy, “green” purchasing policies and more. One notable achievement is the city’s Rock Mill Park with its stormwater best management practices and environmental education materials throughout the park. The park includes enhanced swales, marsh areas, rain gardens and a green roof pavilion. The city received points for its water conservation requirement for new construction, which mandates that any project within the city limits demonstrate how the project will reduce water consumption by at least 10 percent to receive a permit. Other measures implemented by the City of Alpharetta are community incentives for green building and WaterSense homes, a commercial recycling requirement, installation of LED bulbs in all traffic signals and a no-idling policy for government vehicles.

 Description of all Alpharetta's sustainability measures (pdf)

 Presentation on all Alpharetta's sustainability measures (pdf)

Green Building

 Green Communities Ordinance
 Green Construction Summary
 Green Land Use

 Commercial Building Permitting Procedures

 Requires all new city-owned buildings greater than 5,000 square feet to be LEED certified.

 Requires all new city-owned buildings that are not LEED certified to achieve Energy Star or EarthCraft Light Commercial certification.

 Requires all local government building renovations to be Energy Star certified or follow LEED guidelines.

 Offers expedited plan review, processing and permitting, including expedited building and site inspection, for developers building LEED, EarthCraft and Energy Star certified projects in the city.


 Being Green at Home
 Is Your Yard Green?

Water issues are among the most critical in the Atlanta metropolitan area. We all use water! It is anticipated that by the year 2030, there may be six million people living in the metro area. Water supplies for the region are limited so we must all do our part to pay attention to how we use water. Strong conservation measures and water quality protection practices are necessary to ensure that we will have enough clean water to meet future needs.

Water Conservation
Statistics prove that homeowners are the largest group of water users. By making some small changes in behavior we can save large volumes of water and money annually.
Conducting a water audit is easy and can provide you with valuable information about your water use.

Household Water Audit: Download Brochure
Every Drop Counts: Download Brochure

Visit the “Water Use It Wisely” site at  to find 100 ways to save water and more.

Choose water efficient appliances!
When it is time to replace appliances, include an evaluation of the water and energy requirements. The savings will add up.

Check for leaks!
Leaks can account for a majority of lost water in households. Have you checked for leaks around your home lately? Alpharetta offers workshops on how to find and fix minor leaks around the house. Check the City calendar or call the Engineering/Public Works Department at (678) 297-6200.

 One of the best indicators that you may have a leak is to check your water meter. Start by turning off all faucets and water-using appliances in your home (don’t forget the ice maker!) Read your outside water meter. After two hours, take a second reading. If the dial has moved, suspect a leak!

 Check toilets by first removing the tank cover carefully. Add some food coloring to the water in the tank. Wait several minutes. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.

Toilets account for the most water used in a home. By changing out older fixtures for more efficient and low-flow ones, thousands of gallons can be saved each year.

Toilet Rebate Program
You may be eligible to receive a $50 or $100 rebate on qualifying replacement toilets in your home! You can save thousands of gallons of water annually simply by replacing older toilets with more efficient fixtures. Fulton County is the water provider for most of Alpharetta’s residents and is offering this water saving incentive through the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District

Details of the program and applications can be found on the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District website, The regional Water Supply and Water Conservation Management Plan, Watershed Management Plan, and Wastewater Management Plan can also be found at this site.

Water Quality Protection
Water supply and water quality protection are very closely related. Alpharetta is a partner in the Clean Water Campaign!

What is the Clean Water Campaign?
The mission of the Clean Water Campaign is to educate metro residents about the impacts of polluted storm water runoff to our lakes, rivers, and streams; in addition to our water supplies, recreational areas and aquatic habitat. The Clean Water Campaign also provides solutions that each of us can employ in order to clean up and improve metro Atlanta’s waters.

Who is the Clean Water Campaign?
The Clean Water Campaign is a collaborative effort spearheaded by a group of 20 governments in the metro Atlanta area and is managed by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The 20 governments include Clayton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Fulton County and Gwinnett County as well as all the cities within those counties. Many community organizations such as Georgia EPD and P2AD are also involved. Several Corporate Partners such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Georgia Power, the regional office of McDonald’s and WSB-TV Channel 2 have also joined together to support the campaign.

ARC’s Clean Water Campaign -  

Alpharetta has a local Adopt-A-Stream Program
Adopt-A-Stream is Georgia’s volunteer program for monitoring surface waters. The goals of Georgia Adopt-A-Stream are to

(1) increase public awareness of the State's nonpoint source pollution and water quality issues

(2) provide citizens with the tools and training to evaluate and protect their local waterways

(3) encourage partnerships between citizens and their local government

(4) collect quality baseline water quality data.

To accomplish these goals, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream encourages individuals and groups to monitor and/or improve sections of streams, wetlands, lakes or estuaries. Manuals, training, and technical support are provided through Georgia EPD, Adopt-A-Stream Regional Training Centers and more than 50 established Community/Watershed Adopt-A-Stream organizers. To become involved in the Alpharetta monitoring program, contact the Engineering/Public Works Department at (678) 297-6200.

Air Quality

 Traffic Signal Operations Initiative
 Multi User Transportation Plan

The City of Alpharetta began using LED modules for traffic signals in 2005. LED technology uses significantly less power than traditional incandescent bulbs and has the added benefit of lasting over five years. In 2006, the City obtained additional LED replacements for the remainder of the City’s traffic signals. Similar to the energy efficiency program used to supply the City with the LED vehicle signal inserts, GDOT recently provided the City with Pedestrian Signal Head Inserts to replace existing incandescent fixtures. As of July 2010, all traffic signals in the City have been upgraded or programmed for LED conversion by December of 2010.

 Green fleet policy that gives a preference for purchasing fuel-efficient and lowest emission vehicles. Currently, Alpharetta has four hybrid vehicles in the fleet.

 Adopted an anti-idling policy to prevent city vehicles from idling over three minutes, unless in traffic or on routine stops.

 Established a traffic control center in 2005. As a result of implementation, peak travel time has been reduced by 21%. This has led to an annual estimated savings of 300,000 hours, 223,000 gallons of fuel and a reduction in over 100 tons of vehicle emissions.

 Encourages shared parking through the Unified Development Code by offering a 25% reduction in required parking spaces where principal uses will not utilize space during the same hours.

Waste Reduction

Adopted an environmentally preferable purchasing policy to purchase products that are recyclable, reusable or contain recycled materials, as long as the purchase price does not exceed 10% of the cost of a less sustainable product. The product comparison includes life cycle cost considerations, when applicable.

 Single-stream recycling program for traditional recyclable materials. All employees have a small blue bin at their desk for recycling paper, plastics, metal and glass. Bins are also located in break rooms and near copiers.

 Purchases paper with at least 30% recycled content for copy, computer and fax paper.

 Provides curbside recycling to single-family residents for paper, glass, metal containers, plastic and corrugated cardboard.

 Offers drop-off events for recycling or proper disposal of electronics and household hazardous wastes. These drop-off events allow residents to recycle many non-traditional recyclables like electronics, batteries and cell phones.

Recycling Drop off locations:

The City of Alpharetta offers recycling drop off locations for cell phones, inkjet cartridges, and household batteries. These items may be placed in the collection containers at the Engineering/Public Works Department at 1790 Hembree Road and at the Alpharetta Community Center, 175 Roswell Street during normal business hours.

*For additional information, call the Engineering/Public Works Department at (678) 297-6200.

As part of the city’s ongoing commitment to reducing our environmental impact on the community, the city is partnering with Republic Services (our service provider) and RecycleBank to offer a new and incentive-based recycling program that motivates people to recycle.

We believe that the RecycleBank program is a win-win-win for our residents, local businesses and the environment

Community Recycling Collections:
Special recycling collections are offered to the public on occasion, throughout the year, for non traditional items. (These are in addition to the permanent drop off sites for cell phones, household batteries and ink jet cartridges)

Check the City Calendar for future events.

 Electronics – Computers, household electronics and etc. (Spring and Fall)

 Christmas Trees (January)

 Sensitive documents through community Shredding events (Spring and Fall)

 Household hazardous waste and paint (Fall)



 Commercial recycling requirement that requires a 25% minimum level of recycling at commercial locations.

 Requires all new construction and major renovation projects to demonstrate how the project will reduce onsite water use by at least 10%. Examples of how this requirement has been met are through the installation of cisterns to capture rainwater for irrigation and through the installation of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures.

 Rock Mill Park was developed with environmental features such as a green roof pavilion, low impact development, rain gardens and native drought tolerant plants. The park has won numerous awards for its use of low-impact development and stormwater best management practices. Educational materials are displayed throughout the park to inform visitors of these unique features and explain the benefits of proper stormwater management.

Education & Resources

Atlanta Regional Commission Green Communities
Atlanta Regional Commission Green Communities Program
Atlanta Regional Commission Green Communities:Alpharetta

Energy Star

Energy Star: Kid Section

Home Energy Conservation for Kids

Local Governments for Sustainability

Governors Energy Challenge

Conserve Water Georgia

Clean Air Campaign

Federal Government Tax Credit Links

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