In 2007 Douglas County made a commitment to bring awareness to recycling and saving energy. We outfitted each courthouse copy room with recycle containers and gave many employees their own personal basket for their offices. Recycling bins were placed at County libraries, parks and the Sheriff's Department. In one year nearly 150 tons of recyclables were collected for a saving of 2,550 trees, 495 cubic yards of landfill space, and thousands of taxpayer dollars in disposal cost.
Douglas County used this success and desire to expand and take a closer look at energy cost-saving measures. Government buildings were re-outfitted with florescent or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, low-flow toilets, water saving facets and occupancy sensors in the restrooms and changes were made in the courthouse irrigation system which nearly cut costs in half. Saving energy has expanded beyond the courthouse to include the installation of LED bulbs in all traffic signals, a no-idling policy for government vehicles, walking and bike trails, and plans for a new 911 center that will use water run off from the building to flush toilets and a retention pond that will be used for irrigation. Also, Douglas County has drilled a well and installed a pump at the Boundary Waters Aquatic Center capable of supplying the irrigation needs for the site. There is also a retention pond located adjacent to the Aquatic Center with a 350 gpm (specialized pump) that supplies all of the irrigation for the Boundary Waters Sports Complex which is comprised of eight baseball fields, a soccer field and a football field.
In 2009 The Douglas County Courthouse received its Energy Star Certification with and SEP (Statement of Energy Performance) score of 88 out of a possible 100. This is the mark of superior energy performance and identifies our courthouse as one the most efficient buildings in the nation and the only courthouse in the state of Georgia with an Energy Star rating. By taking this important step to energy efficiency, we are not only saving money but preventing the release of greenhouse gases and protecting the environment.
Our goal is to join an elite group of only a handful of governments to receive the recognition of being a "Green Community." The Atlanta Regional Commission Green Communities Program is designed to encourage local governments to demonstrate leadership on environmental sustainability in the areas of conserving energy, investing in renewable energy, conserving water, conserving fuel, reducing waste and protecting and restoring the community's natural resources. The program requires that governments meet specific measures and implement those for their communities to become more sustainable. A variety of measures are incorporated in the Green Community Program, including Energy Star certification for all new local government buildings, a green fleet policy, "green" purchasing policies and more.