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Power to Change Newsletter

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Power to Change Newsletter

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City of Atlanta
55 Trinity Ave. SW
Ste. 3450
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

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ATLANTA: Spring 2012

Power to Change: Help us “recharge” our plan to make Atlanta a leading city in the nation for sustainability

In the fall of his first year in office, Mayor Reed challenged his administration to make Atlanta a leading city for sustainability. To meet that goal, the mayor, together with the Office of Sustainability, developed and launched the city’s first sustainability plan, Power to Change. In 2010, many of our goals – both long and short term – were very aggressive. For Atlanta, after all, it was important to forge the way for the rest of the state and the region, rather than to look back and mull over what we should have done, or could have done ten years from now.

Today, as many as two thirds of the projects envisioned when we launched Power to Change are in place, including legalizing residential systems to harvest rainwater for potable use; encouraging the mass adoption of electric vehicles by offering residents and businesses expedited permitting for charging stations; and making our commercial buildings more energy efficient through the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Also, we launched a residential energy efficiency rebate program which has provided more than $400,000 in rebates resulting in more than 300 energy efficiency improvements in Atlanta homes.

We have worked across all city departments to improve processes and practices so that all operations are assessed for opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle. In the short time that we have measured our sustainability efforts:

• A renewable energy (combined heat and power) project that will meet over 80% of our 2015 renewable energy goal and save over $1 million per year is 90% complete at RM Clayton Water Reclamation Center.
• At the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, an LED lighting project over 50% complete; project will save over $400,000 per year.
• Civic Center energy upgrades are complete; savings over 2009 baseline are 23% in energy and $93,000 to date for recent six-month period.
• Lighting projects are underway ( 60% complete) at three water treatment facilities, with completion on target for July 1 of this year, with projected annual savings of over $400,000.

But we know we need to do more to become a leading national city for sustainability.

With a new Director of Sustainability, Denise Quarles, who brings a wealth of private sector operations, environmental compliance, and sustainability experience to her role, the office is moving forward in a positive direction. Under Quarles direction, the office is evaluating the city’s initial objectives and expanding our efforts to include not only municipal assets, but also the footprints of industry and non-governmental organizations.

“We knew it was important to create change in our own house first,” said Quarles. “Now Atlanta city government is ready to partner with the environmental and business communities, and as well as neighborhood, academic, non-profit and civic groups to truly make Atlanta one of the nation’s top-tier cities for sustainability.”

The Office of Sustainability is gearing up for a refresh of the Power to Change plan to be introduced later this year.


Civic Center Showcases Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge

BBC Large 


Last fall, Mayor Kasim Reed, together with Michelle Moore of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, A.J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), and other leading business and community organizations kicked off the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to reduce energy and water consumption by at least 20 percent in participating buildings across Atlanta by 2020 with a primary focus on the city’s downtown business district. It is part of an initiative that President Barack Obama launched in 2011 to encourage private sector investment in commercial building upgrades and innovative clean energy technologies that save money and improve productivity.

The Better Buildings Challenge was launched with a benchmark for Atlanta's 220-block Downtown Improvement District which includes the Atlanta Civic Center, City Hall and other municipal facilities. The Civic Center, a showcase project for Atlanta, has nearly completed its upgrades on the 380,000-square-foot building. With a project cost of $2.1 million, it is expected to generate an estimated annual $228,000 in energy savings. The project is being executed under a partnership between the City of Atlanta and AGL Resources under AGL’s Georgia Sustainable Environmental Economic Development Program (Georgia SEED), which funded the improvements.

BBC Training

The bulk of the upgrades focused on replacing the air-handling systems and domestic water heating equipment, which were all the original 1967 systems. In very poor condition, the systems had exceeded their rated service lives by more than 20 years. The project also called for replacing inefficient lighting with high-efficiency LED and fluorescent lighting, and installing controls to prevent operation during unoccupied periods.

“By saving energy and water in our municipal buildings, we will not only save taxpayer dollars, but also private sector dollars that can be invested in growth, new technology and new, well-paying jobs for Atlantans,” said Mayor Reed.

For more on the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge visit:

Mayor Kasim Reed Covers Sustainable Communities Magazine

MKR Sust Communities Cover

The City of Atlanta was recently recognized for its sustainability efforts when Mayor Kasim Reed was featured in the cover story for the Nov./Dec. 2011 issue of Sustainable Communities Magazine. The magazine is a publication of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a national nonprofit membership-driven group dedicated to helping make communities more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Request a copy of the Sustainable Communities magazine article.

Atlanta residents: Ready, Set, Recycle!
UPDATE 4.10.12 -
Recycling Bins are available at no cost.

Recyle Bin

City of Atlanta residents can take advantage of curbside recycling pick-up on the same day that trash is collected. A recycling bin is provided to city customers upon establishing service.  If you would like to use a larger recycling bin, you may use your own; please clearly label it as recycling.   


More information on recycling can be found by visiting the Department of Public Works page at, or by calling the Customer Service Center at (404) 330-6333.

Recycling helps the environment and the economy. In fact, recycling creates almost twenty times as many jobs as waste disposal. Ready, set, recycle, Atlanta!







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