Founded in 2002 by residents who shared a concern about the rapid, unchecked sprawl emanating from Atlanta toward Newton County, the Center for Community Preservation and Planning, located in Covington, GA, offers a neutral environment where citizens, leaders, and stakeholders gather to understand and create unique approaches to managing growth and change.
Charged with planning for and managing growth in a responsible, environmentally sustainable manner, the Center has been committed to and passionate about green living since its inception. Over the past 10 years, the Center has undertaken the following green efforts:
- Developed a green strategic plan for 2050 for Newton County with an emphasis on:
- conserving green areas to protect clean water
- concentrating development to build compact communities
- integrating transportation plans to ensure connectivity
- planning public infrastructure to maximize public investment
- Produced several educational programs and materials designed to help residents, business owners, local governments and others go green (e.g. www.savewaternewton.com)
- Instituted recycling and use of biodegradable or reusable kitchen products
- Instituted practices of turning off lights and computers when not in use
To identify additional opportunities for increasing their facility’s energy and water efficiency, the Center applied for a Grants to Green Assessment Award in 2009. In 2010, the Center was awarded $5,300 in Implementation funding to implement the following items:
- Replace the water heater with a tankless model
- Install high efficiency lighting
- Replace the toilets with low flow fixtures
- Seal and repair ducts
Given their budget size of less than $500,000, the Center was only required to match $2,600. The Center, however, spent a total of approximately $16,000 on all of the projects plus additional green efforts, dedicating nearly $11,000 of their own funds to the efforts.
As a result of their efforts, the Center has seen incredible savings.
Kay B. Lee, Executive Director of the Center is thrilled with the results. “At a time when energy costs are rising, we have seen our costs decrease dramatically between
2010 and 2012,” said Lee.
By participating in the Initiative and in Green Champion convenings, meetings where representatives of nonprofits who received Grants to Green assessment or implementation awards gather to share information, resources and lessons learned, the Center staff and surrounding community members have benefited tremendously. Specifically, the Initiative has:
- Increased knowledge of green building materials and best practices among the Center staff and contractors, suppliers and vendors in Newton County.
- Exposed Newton County residents to the concepts and importance of green building.
- Increased knowledge of how to communicate about green efforts and how to leverage Grants to Green to garner additional funding.
The Center is continuing to actively work to incorporate green building, practices and principles throughout their office and in their programs and services. Through these efforts, they are educating their community about how to live, work and play green. Under the Center’s smart and forward-thinking direction, Newton County is poised to grow responsibly and sustainably.