Greenhouse Gas Emissions

See our  latest update on how we are meeting our greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

The Durham City-County Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Local Action Plan (PDF) is a joint effort of the City of Durham, Durham County, and the Durham - Chapel Hill - Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO). The plan consists of an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in the county, a forecast of 2030 emissions, an evaluation of measures to reduce emissions, and an implementation plan to achieve emission targets.

Community Target: 30% by 2030

The target for community greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. Community emissions include emissions from all residences, businesses, and industries in Durham County. It also includes all transportation emissions from vehicles traveling on roads in Durham County.

Local Government Target: 50% by 2030

The target for local government greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. Local government emissions include emissions from the operations of the City of Durham, Durham County, and Durham Public Schools.


The City and County hired a sustainability manager in 2008 to help implement the Greenhouse Gas Plan. Since that time, the Sustainability Office has worked with other departments and community organizations to reduce energy use including:
  • Providing energy retrofits for 709 homes, which saves an estimated 2 million kWh of electricity per year
  • Conducting major energy and water upgrades to County facilities, resulting in savings of more than 4 million kWh, 145,000 therms of natural gas, and 7.5 million gallons of water per year.  This translates into an estimated reduction of 17,800 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year or the equivalent of 1,549 homes worth of energy for a year.
  • Turning the methane generated by our landfill into electricity, which results in a reduction of 4,800 tons of greenhouse gases per year
  • Conducting upgrades to water treatment plants and pumps
  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations
  • Installing LEDs and other lighting retrofits
  • Installing solar hot water systems at several fire stations
  • Purchasing fuel-efficient, electric, and hybrid vehicles, including transit buses