The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s national Green Power Communities (GPC) initiative has officially moved into the Southeast. The city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee has become the newest member of the national initiative that supports over 30 cities nationwide.

Local governments across the country have started partnering with the EPA to become team players in the Green Power Communities. Towns, villages, cities, counties or tribal governments have the opportunity to become part of the initiative if the local government, businesses and residents are collectively using green power that meets or exceeds the EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements.

“We applaud the City of Oak Ridge for increasing their use of clean and renewable energy sources,” said Beverly Banister, director of the Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division at the EPA Southeast regional office in Atlanta in a statement. “This is a great example of a community working together to help ensure a cleaner environment for us all.”

To become a certified Green Power Community, Oak Ridge was required to initiate a community-wide green power campaign to encourage its residents and businesses to turn to renewable energy. To make this happen, Oak Ridge partnered with Tennessee Valley Authority and its Green Power Switch program, which offers businesses and consumers the chance to purchase 150 kilowatt blocks of renewable energy.

 The initiative was more successful than anyone could have imagined; it generated more than 300 new Green Power Switch enrollments, bypassing the community’s original goal by a long shot.

Oak Ridge serves as a great example of green living that cities throughout the nation should be looking to for motivation and inspiration on living a cleaner, greener life. At Viridian Energy, we sincerely hope more community leaders take a page from Oak Ridge’s success—including those communities in our very own neck of the woods.

A pioneer in its region, Oak Ridge not only met its goals for green energy use but surpassed them with unwavering support. This city demonstrates that once governments put forth effort to better their community, citizens will enthusiastically follow their lead.