Green Buildings

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Durham County has demonstrated a public commitment to sustainability and green buildings.  The County’s commitment to achieving high levels of LEED certification, through the High Performance Building Policy, for all new facilities and major renovations exemplifies careful stewardship of natural resources and the land. Numerous buildings have already received LEED certification, and several more are under design/construction. 

Triangle Waste Water Treatment Plant Administrative Building - Certified
Southwest Library Expansion & Renovation - Silver
Criminal Justice Resource Center Renovation - Certified
Main Library Renovation - Certified
North Library - Silver
East Library - Certified
South Library - Gold
Animal Control - Certified
Durham County Courthouse - Gold
Human Services Complex - Silver


What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  It is a green building rating system developed by the US Green Building Council in 1988.  Buildings can achieve one of four levels- certified, silver, gold, and platinum - based on the amount of sustainable aspects that are incorporated.  Buildings are scored on five categories - Examples of each are listed below:

Sustainable Sites

  • Buildings use at less energy (electric & gas) than typical buildings of a similar design
  • Light color surfaces are used reducing the heat island effect
  • Some sites use green roofs.
  • A large cistern to hold water runoff from the roof

 Water Efficiency

  • Waterless urinals, high efficiency water closets & other water saving features reduce water & sewage 
  • Drought resistant & local plants are used for landscaping

 Energy & Atmosphere

  • Day lighting is used as much as possible 
  • Indirect lighting techniques coupled with CFL’s and LED’s 
  • More efficient mechanical systems   Occupancy sensors to turn lights off automatically            

Materials & Resources

  • Preference give to locally produced material &/or products with recycled content
  • Durable flooring & replaceable carpet floor tiles
  • Reduced construction waste sent to the landfill

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Low voliatile organic compounds (VOC) emitting paints, floor glues, etc.
  • CO2 sensors installed to regulate air quality and deicpher when more fresh air is needed.

To hear the architect of the Courthouse talk about the green features of the building visit our youtube page at GreeenerDurham.