Innovative Strategies

The Carbon Neutrality and Renewable Energy Action Plan positions the City as a leader in sustainability. This plan has the potential to transform City operations from top to bottom to be more sustainable and resilient, but we can't stop there.

Comprehensive Plan

The new Durham Comprehensive Plan puts the City on a path to carbon neutrality by 2050. 

We envision a carbon-neutral, biodiverse community that balances preservation and restoration of the natural environment with sustainable and harmonious development. Durham will prioritize the health and well-being of residents by correcting environmental racism, connecting people to nature, and ensuring access to healthy food and prioritize the health of the environment, as it has a direct impact on the health of residents.   

Our goal is a healthy, resilient community that is carbon-neutral and prepared to weather the irreversible impacts of climate change.  

The Comprehensive Plan identifies a need to retrofit our built environment and also prepare our community, by building community capacity, to be more resilient to natural disasters and unexpected disruption. Low-wealth communities and communities of color in Durham will be most impacted by climate change; therefore, Durham needs to prioritize BIPOC communities in planning for a sustainable future. 


The City's new FY24-FY26 Strategic Plan is a roadmap to make Durham a diverse, welcoming, and innovative community. The new Goal 5: Thriving and Vibrant Environment envisions Durham as a model sustainable city, offering widespread benefits that enhance the quality of life for all residents, present and future. 

Our vision is to be the leading city in providing an excellent and sustainable quality of life.  

The Strategic Plan includes the following objectives and initiatives:

- Advance Carbon Neutrality through the Maintenance and Improvement of Existing Infrastructure

  • Implement energy efficiency measures in City facilities and operations
  • Expand onsite and offsite solar power generation
  • Purchase, install, and maintain electric vehicles and infrastructure

- Support Communitywide Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Strategies

  • Develop a community centered carbon neutrality and renewable energy strategy
  • Conduct community resiliency planning

Partnership for Healthy Homes and Green Jobs 

The Partnership for Healthy Homes and Green Jobs is a unique collaboration of local government, nonprofit, and community-based organizations providing energy efficiency services and critical repairs to homes in underserved Durham neighborhoods. In addition, this program installed green storm water infrastructure to reduce flooding and improve water quality in streams, utilizing a green technologies jobs training program for public school youth. 


 The program was established by a $300,000 grant from the Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund (SSCF) in 2019. The program is administered by the City of Durham working in partnership with the Durham County Soil & Water Conservation District, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, NC Sustainable Energy Association, NC Cooperative Extension Service, Durham Public Schools, and the Bragtown and Merrick-Moore Neighborhood Associations.  


To date, partners have weatherized 28 homes and installed 47 green infrastructure measures at 32 homes, as well as establishing a new community garden. The green jobs training program involved 11 teachers and 92 students. 

Learn more about Healthy Homes and Green Jobs


LEED-ing the Way to a More Sustainable City 

We’re proud to announce yet more recognition of our sustainability accomplishments. Along with the County, we have jointly achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – or LEED (pronounced LEAD) – Gold certification. Durham is the second community in North Carolina to be certified LEED GOLD using the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities and Communities rating system.  


We achieved this designation for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and quality of life for our residents. Some of our notable initiatives include reducing our carbon footprint even as the local economy grows and our population increases and working to make neighborhoods more resilient to the effects of climate change by making homes more energy efficient, installing rain gardens, and planting trees. The designation makes us the first multi-jurisdictional certified community in the country.  

Learn more about LEED for Cities


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