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The Atlanta BeltLine

Where Atlanta Comes Together. Learn more

Energy and Climate

A Nod to Mother Earth

One of the most important benefits of the Atlanta BeltLine is the opportunity to have a positive impact on the City's environmental footprint. With innovative technology, developments along the Atlanta BeltLine can help reduce our carbon footprint, assist in reducing our collective energy consumption, and set the City on a path to environmental sustainability.

Atlanta BeltLine Guidelines

  1. Minimize the carbon footprint of Atlanta BeltLine operations through the use of energy-efficient technologies, onsite energy production and green-energy purchase.
  2. Maintenance and construction activities shall strive to be carbon-neutral, where possible
  3. Provide highly reflective materials and shading landscapes to minimize contribution to urban heat-island effect.
  4. Encourage and promote the use of Atlanta BeltLine trails and transit as an alternative to the automobile through thoughtful design of facilities, access points and services, and public education and awareness campaigns

Integrated Sustainability

A regional ecosystem analysis of Atlanta by American Forests concludes that Atlanta’s economic growth has come at the price of too many trees, replaced by too many buildings, surface roads and parking lots, with significant negative consequences for stormwater management and air quality in the City of Atlanta. Maintaining and restoring tree cover is an effective way to improve the environment. The reforestation of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor will contribute to the City of Atlanta’s emission reduction goals and reduce its carbon footprint through carbon sequestration. The new canopy will lower surface and air temperatures along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor and in surrounding areas by providing shade and evapotranspiration.

Trees will also help shade existing and new buildings along the Atlanta BeltLine, reducing cooling loads. Concrete and grass, which are specified for the trail and the transit guideway respectively, are alternatives to asphalt, which contributes to urban heat-island effect. The Atlanta BeltLine trails and transit will offer alternative transportation options to current and future residents in forty-five intown neighborhoods, helping the City of Atlanta reach to its goal of 80% GHG reduction and 100% conformance with the EPA’s Air Quality index by 2050.

The Atlanta BeltLine subarea master plans include bike and pedestrian improvements for streets in the Atlanta BeltLine study area, paving the way for a greener Atlanta. In addition to specifying energy-efficient fixtures for lighting and interactive displays, the BeltLine typologies present numerous opportunities for on-site renewable energy generation to minimize energy use.

Environmental Issues Addressed

  • Carbon footprint reduction
  • Energy-Efficiency
  • On-site Renewable Energy Production
  • Green Energy Purchase
  • Green-house gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction
  • Vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) Reduction
  • Urban Heat Island Effect Reduction
  • Cooling / Heating Load Reduction

Other Environmental Issues

  • Maintenance Vehicle Emissions
  • Embodied Energy of Materials
  • Performance Monitoring
  • District Heating / Cooling
  • Education & Outreach

Related Metrics

The Sustainable Sites Initiative 4.10. Use vegetation to minimize building heating requirements 4.11. Use vegetation to minimize building cooling requirements 4.12. Reduce urban heat island effects 7.6. Minimize generation of greenhouse gas emissions and exposure to localized air pollutants during construction 8.4. Reduce outdoor energy consumption for all landscape and exterior operations 8.5. Use renewable sources for landscape electricity needs 8.7. Minimize greenhouse gases and exposure to localized air pollutants during landscape maintenance activities 8.8. Reduce emissions and promote the use of energy-efficient vehicles 9.1. Monitor performance of sustainable design practices

Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND)

SLL Credit 3. Reduced Auto Dependence SLL Credit 4. Bike Network and Storage GIB Credit 9. Heat Island Reduction GIB Credit 11. On-Site Renewable Energy Sources GIB Credit 13. Infrastructure Energy Efficiency NPD Credit 14. Tree lined and Shaded Streets