DURHAM, N.C. – Durham is adding another accolade to its growing roster of sustainability accomplishments, which are designed to improve the quality of life for all who call the Bull City home.
The City of Durham and Durham County announced today that they have jointly achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) GOLD certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities and Communities rating system, making Durham the first multi-jurisdictional certified community in the United States and one of only 14 cities and counties to be certified this year by the world's most widely used green building rating system. Durham is also now the second community in North Carolina to be certified LEED GOLD.
With this certification, Durham now joins a global network of more than 130 LEED certified cities and communities throughout the world. “Durham’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous sustainability and climate leadership,” said U.S. Green Building Council President and CEO Peter Templeton. “Durham is setting a standard for what it means to be a high performer and their efforts and achievements should be an example for all.”
Durham achieved this certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and quality of life for its residents.
“This certification demonstrates Durham’s commitment to sustainability. We are delivering a better quality of life for everyone who lives, works, and plays here while also lowering global carbon emissions, reducing electricity and water bills, and promoting climate justice. It’s what makes this a vibrant community where people want to live,” said City of Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal.
“This LEED GOLD certification recognizes all the hard work our employees, businesses, residents, and institutions do every day to maintain our high quality of life,” said Durham County Board of Commissioners Chair Brenda Howerton. “We are known for our innovative spirit and that shows in the diversity of areas where we are leading the way in sustainability.”
LEED enables communities to measure and track key metrics that include energy, water, waste, transportation, prosperity, and equity. Notable Durham initiatives include:
- Reducing its carbon footprint even as the local economy grows and its population increases.
- Working to make neighborhoods more resilient to the effects of climate change by making homes more energy efficient, installing rain gardens, and planting trees.
- Planning for climate change impacts to reduce the risk of increased heat waves, droughts, flooding, and wildfires.
- Consistently providing clean, great tasting, and affordable tap water that meets or exceeds federal requirements.
- Reducing waste going to the landfills by providing residential recycling services, yard waste pickup, and collection of electronic waste, tires, textiles, and household hazardous waste.
- Having over 1,400 square feet of natural area per person with over 450 million square feet of trails, community gardens, forests, parks, and conservation land.
For more information on the City’s Sustainability and Energy Management program, visit the City’s webpage or contact Sustainability Manager Amy Armbruster with the City’s General Services Department at (919) 560-4197 ext. 21299 or by email.
For more information about the County’s Sustainability Office, visit the County’s webpage or contact Sustainability Manager Tobin Freid with the County’s Engineering and Environmental Services Department at (919) 560-7999 or by email.
About the City of Durham Sustainability and Energy Management Program
The Sustainability and Energy Management program leads the City’s efforts to increase renewable energy use, reduce carbon emissions, and improve Durham’s resilience to the effects of climate change. This program drives design and implementation of sustainability programs and projects guided by the City’s adopted 2021 Carbon Neutrality and Renewable Energy Action Plan.
About the Durham County Sustainability Office
The County Sustainability Office helps protect and improve the County government and community’s environment through wise use of natural resources. In particular, the office implements Durham’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan and County Renewable Energy Plan as well as provides guidance and resources to County employees, businesses, and residents.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the world's most widely used green building rating system. For more than 20 years, USGBC has been advancing green building practices through the development of LEED, the world’s most widely used green building program. With the support of thousands of members, volunteers and partners, USGBC provides robust green building education courses, a rigorous professional credentialing program, and advocates for effective public policies.