Sustainability and Energy Management

Residential GHG Emissions2

Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. By ensuring environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity, a sustainable city offers widespread benefits that enhance the quality of life for all residents, present and future. In alignment with Goal 5 of the City of Durham’s Strategic Plan, the General Services Department is committed to the stewardship of the City’s physical and environmental assets through thoughtful planning and operations that ensure the long-term viability of the City’s infrastructure, facilities, and environment.

At the heart of the General Services Department’s mission is building and maintaining the City properties that make Durham a great place to live, work and play.  As a team, we construct, deliver, and maintain sustainable, high-quality, visually appealing infrastructure.  When it comes to environmental sustainability, all divisions within the department work together, with a focus on energy efficiency, pollution/litter reduction, and global warming prevention.

Our current sustainability initiatives for FY17-19 include:

  • Leading in the creation of the City of Durham Sustainability Plan
  • Becoming a STAR Certified Community (Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities)
  • Investigating options for natural burials in our City cemeteries
  • Internal design review processes that focus on energy efficiency for projects
  • 10-year Capital Replacement Plan
  • Implementation of an Asset Management Software System
  • Assigning Facility Condition Index values to all facilities managed by GSD
  • Partnering with the Office of Economic & Workforce Development on public art City-wide and along key corridors
  • Addition of Keep Durham Beautiful signage at grant partnership sites
  • Using GIS mapping technology to demonstrate departmental activities

Recent sustainability related accomplishments include:

City of Durham Sustainability Plan

The goal of the City of Durham Sustainability Plan is to highlight the sustainability efforts already taking place in in the City and provide a strategic path forward to ensure that we are meeting the current and future needs of our community. The plan, under development in 2017-2018, will identify several overarching goals across the three central areas of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social – as well as strategic objectives within respective City departments to achieve those goals. By reflecting on our progress we can identify new opportunities to make Durham an even more resilient city.

We need your input! Now is the time to help shape the new Sustainability Plan.  Weigh-in on your priorities for the future of Durham by taking the online survey or by visiting one of the public events this Fall 2017. Paper versions of the survey are also available upon request. Please visit the project website for more information.

STAR Community Certification

The City of Durham is currently pursing certification through the STAR Community Rating System, the nation’s leading framework and certification program for local sustainability. STAR provides a transparent, data-driven approach to measuring municipal sustainability progress across social, economic, and environmental performance areas. This process will assist in assessing and recognizing our current sustainability efforts, identifying opportunities for growth, and developing feasible goals and strategies to integrate into the City of Durham Sustainability Plan.