Sustainability and Energy Management

In 2021, the City of Durham adopted its Carbon Neutrality and Renewable Energy Action Plan to create a healthier environment and enhance quality of life for all Durham residents 


With the adoption of this plan, the City of Durham became one of the first communities in North Carolina to commit to these four ambitious sustainability goals:  


  • Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (MTCO2e) from City operations by 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2040 
  • Transition fleet vehicles to zero emissions by 2040 
  • Reduce energy consumption in City buildings by at least 30% by 2040 
  • Increase use of renewable energy in City operations to 80% by 2030, and 100% by 2050  


Envision City buildings and water treatment plants that are more resilient, use less energy, and cost less money to operate; cleaner, quieter electric City buses, street sweepers and solid waste trucks operating in the community; solar technology supplying green power to City facilities and back to the grid, reducing community reliance on fossil fuels.

This plan has four important strategies:  

1) Reduce the City’s energy consumption in buildings and operations by maximizing energy efficiency;  

2) Transition City buildings and fleet to zero emissions;  

3) Invest in renewable energy sources through on-site generation and off-site procurement and  

4) Build resilience through innovative carbon reduction strategies and community partnerships 


Positioned in the Strategic Plan Goal 5: Thriving and Vibrant Environment - the City of Durham’s sustainability commitment prioritizes equity by fostering a cleaner environment for all residents, particularly those in underserved areas who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. 


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City of Durham Carbon NEUTRALITY and Renewable Energy INITIATIVES

STRATEGY 1: Internal
Reduce the City’s energy consumption in buildings and operations

  • Convert lighting in all City buildings and outdoor spaces to high-efficiency LED fixtures 
  • Conduct energy audits in City buildings to identify energy-saving opportunities 
  • Develop a comprehensive Energy Management Plan for all City facilities over 5,000 square feet 
  • Update City policies to reduce carbon emissions 

STRATEGY 2: Internal
Increase use of renewables to power City operations 

  • Participate in Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage Program  to obtain clean, renewable electricity generated by solar energy  
  • Install solar arrays on additional City buildings
  • Complete Water Management's Biosolids and Renewable Energy Plan 

STRATEGY 3: Internal  
Transition the City fleet to zero emissions and build electric vehicle charging infrastructure 

  • Install electric vehicle charging stations for public and City fleet use 
  • Replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Fleet Vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs)

  • Complete Community-wide Climate Action and Resilience Plan
  • Leverage Federal funding to support City sustainability goals
  • Partner with Triangle J Council of Governments and 10 other Triangle communities to Solarize the Triangle
  • Install public electric vehicle charging stations throughout the community


City of Durham FY 16/17 Energy Report
City of Durham FY 17/18 – FY 19/20 Energy Report