Green Government Initiative

NACo’s Green Government Initiative provides comprehensive resources for local governments on all things green—including energy, air quality, transportation,water quality, land use, purchasing and recycling. GGI serves as a catalyst between local governments and the private sector to facilitate green government best practices, products and policies that result in financial and environmental savings. Through the initiative, NACo:
  • Develops strategies to save counties money while going green
  • Educates counties on techniques for implementing green strategies
  • Provides tools for counties to educate their communities on all things green
  • Promotes environmentally-preferable purchasing
  • Facilitates an open exchange with the private sector

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Green Technology: How Tech Enables Counties to Invest in Renewables

Thursday, February 27, 2014; 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM Eastern Time

Recent advancements in technology have spurred interest and growth across the nation in renewable energy. Technology is allowing counties to more efficiently develop renewable energy programs - from siting new wind energy facilities, to creating energy from once unused sources including converting post-recycled solid waste into electricity, to ensuring reliable and secure transmission of energy via smart grids. By providing an easier path to renewable energy, technology is helping counties reduce energy costs and generate new economic activity, while meeting sustainability goals.

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Green Goods: How to Create Sustainable County Purchasing and Procurement Programs

​Wednesday, January 22, 2014; 2:00-3:15 PM Eastern time

As counties strive to reduce waste, conserve energy and lower operational costs, purchasing recycled and environmentally-friendly goods, materials and services can greatly contribute to meeting a county’s financial and sustainability goals. Join us to discuss how you can help your county develop an environmentally preferred purchasing program, navigate the myriad of product eco-labels and green purchasing guidelines and hear success stories from counties that have established sustainable purchasing and procurement programs.

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Grow Your County’s Green Building Industry: Policies, Codes, and Incentives

November 2013

Building green provides many benefits: efficient operations, higher property value, comfortable and healthy spaces, creation of skilled jobs, and more. County governments can support local construction economies and meet growing demand for green buildings with thoughtfully designed policies, mandatory codes, and voluntary incentive programs. In this webinar, the second of two, speakers will discuss best practices and common pitfalls of implementing county strategies, and highlight counties where these approaches are being piloted. 

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Updating Your County’s Green Building Toolbox

September 2013

In this webinar, the first of two, industry experts will outline best-available building rating systems, standards, and model codes, highlighting recent updates.

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Understanding the Smart Grid: A Guide for County Leaders

February 2014

In February of 2014, the National Association of Counties released an issue brief on the role that counties can play in advancing energy technology through the adoption of and investment in smart grid technologies.​

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Energy Efficient County Buildings

January 2013
In May of 2012, the National Association of Counties and the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) launched a study to learn more about how counties use energy in their buildings.

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The County Sustainability Team

October 2012

A poster which visually demonstrates the various departments within county government that are influencing s​ustainability to better their communities. Hard co​pies of the poster are available upon request​.

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2012 Emerging Sustainability Strategies in America’s Counties

October 2012

NACo's Green Government Advisory Board identifies key trends influencing the emergence of new sustainability strategies providing efficiency and cost savings to county government.

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America’s Counties Experience the Benefits of Soy Biobased Products

October 2012

A brief look at how counties are using Soy Biobased products to save money and green their counties.​

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Green Government Initiative Newsletter

The Green Government Initiative Newsletter provides monthly updates about programming and events to keep you up-to-date on all things GGI-related.

To make sure you're caught up on all of our workshops, forums, webinars and other items:

CSI Blog Spotlight: Green Government rssicon.png
Economic Risks of Climate Change

Written by Alyssum PohlNOAA Digital Coast Fellow​


Source: Rhodium Group, Risky Business Report

A new report, “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change” summarizes findings of an independent assessment of the impact of climate change at the county, state, and regional level.  Specifically, the report shows projected average summer temperatures at the county level by 2100 and their key impacts in each of six regions within the continental U.S., as well as Hawaii and Alaska.  

The report provides policymakers, communities, and businesses with information about the risks they may face by pairing economic data with climate change projections. You can download the report and learn more here

3 weeks ago

Guidebook on Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow​​

​Source: World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute have released a guidebook, Coastal Capital: Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean.  Although this report focuses on Caribbean locations, the methods used are useful for economic valuation practitioners—both economists and non-economists—who want to conduct economic valuation of coastal ecosystems to inform decision making.  

They show not only how to conduct a sound analysis, but also how to explicitly link the valuation to a policy question, identify and engage stakeholders, communicate strategically, and to report findings transparently.  To read more about the guidebook, click here.  To download the guidebook, click here.  ​

3 weeks ago

Planning Resilient Water Systems: County Case Studies

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow​


The first publication in our three-part series on coastal resiliency is now available.  “Planning Resilient Water Systems: County Case Studi​es” shares two examples of counties that have experienced negative effects of poor water quality and are now striving to reverse this course.  

Water quality standards measure three important features: how safe the water is for human contact, how safe it is for drinking and the health of an ecosystem.  A critical component of community resilience is responsible stewardship of our water bodies, which are vital resources for human, economic and ecological health.  

Both Bucks County, Pa. and Suffolk County, N.Y. have created detailed plans to guide future wa...

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3 weeks ago

NACo Releases New Issue Brief for Sustainable Port Operations

​Written by Rob Pressly, NACo Program Manager.
Earlier this week, the National Association of Counties released its latest issue brief, Sustainable Ports: Strategies for Port Development and Operations, as a guide for county leaders to understand the importance of operating ports in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

Ports are major drivers of trade and economic activity, with some 360 public commercial ports throughout the U.S. Each year these ports handle more than two billion tons of domestic cargo, and are also responsible for exporting 99.4 percent of all of the country’s goods for international trade. Seaports provide 471,000 direct jobs, support another 543,000 induced jobs from port activities and provide an average an...

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4 weeks ago

Upcoming Webinar: Effective Methods of Environmental Education

​Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.

First graders learn about environmental restoration at the Smith Environmental Education Center in Montgomery County, Md.  Image from Flickr user woodleywonderworks​.

Many local communities across the country are pursuing environmental restoration projects to prevent or reduce pollution and environmental degradation. With this, local leaders are aligning their restoration goals with environmental educational opportunities for area students and residents to improve community and organization capacity to protect, restore and enhance ecological conditions.

To learn more about successful environmental education programs, partnerships and initiatives, join the upcoming Five Star and Urban Waters restoration webinar Effective Methods of Environmental Educationon Tuesday, July 22 from 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM ET.  Participants will l...

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5 weeks ago