State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Carrboro, NC

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 3 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Carrboro’s Board of Aldermen adopted Resolution 78/2009-10 to reduce the town’s greenhouse gas emissions to a 350 parts per million in the atmosphere, but the goal has not been quantified in terms of energy efficiency, consumption, or intensity. Carrboro also participated in the Orange County Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory which identified three potential tiers of greenhouse gas emissions reductions.  The town is actively forming a task force to support a community plan and planning a community forum later in 2014.

Last updated: April 2014

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

Carrboro does not have district energy systems or combined heat and power facilities.

Last updated: April 2014

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

Carrboro has begun to address urban heat islands through the town’s Land Use Ordinance, which limits the impacts from new development.  The most important provision is a 40% open space requirement for residential development.  Since 2010, Carrboro has maintained a 58% tree canopy.

Last updated: April 2014

Buildings Policies
Score: 5 out of 29 points
Building Energy CodesList All

The State of North Carolina requires local jurisdictions to comply with the state mandated building energy codes. All buildings must comply with the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code, which is more stringent than the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the ASHRAE 90.1-2010. To learn more about the building codes and requirements for the State of North Carolina, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial construction in Carrboro complies with the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. We did not find information regarding Carrboro’s advocacy for increased stringency in commercial building energy codes.


Residential construction in Carrboro complies with the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. We did not find information regarding Carrboro’s advocacy for increased stringency in residential building energy codes.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Carrboro reported a budget of $274,000 for the building code department in 2013/2014. This level of spending normalizes to $17.62 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city.  Carrboro has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. Carrboro does not provide upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: April 2014

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Carrboro does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector. The MLS which serves the Carrboro area does not include fields for energy-efficient features.

Last Updated: April 2014

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Building Energy Savings Goals

Carrboro has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Carrboro has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Carrboro does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Carrboro established and is maintaining an Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund for small businesses.

Last Updated: April 2014

Score: 8.5 out of 28 points
Location Efficiency List All

Carrboro’s Land Use Ordinance promotes mixed-use developments in several zoning districts.  To rezone to a Village Mixed Use Development (Sec. 15-176.2), applicants must adhere to 10 mixed-use principles including preservation of open space, pedestrian preference and accessibility, and proximity of uses.  On average, the town requires one or more parking spaces per residential unit.  A complete-streets-like policy is included in the Carrboro Land Use Ordinance (Sec. 15-216).  As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Carrboro provides density bonuses and parking requirement flexibility for location-efficient developments.

Last updated: April 2014

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Carrboro has not yet written or implemented a policy to encourage improved integration of transportation and land use planning such as a VMT reduction or mode share target.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

Carrboro is evaluating the possibility of a car sharing program for the town.  A bike sharing service is not available to the citizens of Carrboro.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

Carrboro has not yet implemented any transportation demand management programs to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips or trips during rush hour.

Last updated: April 2014

Public Transit List All

The Chapel Hill Transit system that serves Carrboro received $19,276,792 in total funding in 2012.  This funding level is $240.31 per resident in the service territory of the agency.  In comparison, 2010 spending on roads and parking by the city was $1,311,500, or $66.98 per city resident.  This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 3.59 to 1.

The Transit Connectivity Index measures how many transit rides are available per week within walking distance from the average household. The Town of Carrboro’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 7,360, putting it in the lower category (5,000 - 10,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: April 2014

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Carrboro does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of commercial or private EV charging infrastructure. Carrboro has not yet established efficient driving rules, such as an anti-idling ordinance, for private vehicles.  Municipal staff from Carrboro engage with the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition, which works to reduce petroleum use in transportation.

Last updated: April 2014

Freight System EfficiencyList All

There are no intermodal freight facilities within Carrboro’s boundaries.

Last updated: April 2014

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 5.75 out of 18 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Duke Energy Carolinas, an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the City of Carrboro. PSNC Energy, an IOU, is Carrboro’s primary natural gas utility. The State of North Carolina has implemented a renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard in which levels of energy efficiency must be achieved annually by the state’s utilities through demand side programs.  To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the North Carolina page of the State Database.

Orange Water and Sewer Authority is the municipal-utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatment and stormwater services to the city of Carrboro.

Last Updated: April 2014

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2011, Duke spent $28,126,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.5% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, Duke reported a net incremental electricity savings of 349,896MWh, representing 0.46% of its retail sales.  In 2011, PSNC Energy either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs.  Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire North Carolina service territory, not just Carrboro. Duke offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. PSNC similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to customers.

With Duke Energy and the City of Chapel Hill, the Town of Carrboro helped pilot an incentive to encourage the installation of insulation and air & duct sealing.  The town has also been participating in a municipal workgroup organized by the North Carolina League of Municipalities that has been advocating for increased energy efficiency with Duke Energy and the Utilities Commission.

Last Updated: April 2014

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Duke provides customers with Personalized Energy Reports, which display monthly trends, compares a customer’s account to other similar accounts, and provides a portal to available energy efficiency programs. At this time, Duke does not provide building managers and owners with an automatic benchmarking service for use in Portfolio Manager.  Aggregate energy usage information is available upon request from Duke for community-planning.  Carrboro actively advocates for polices requiring utilities to expand the availability and granularity of energy usage data.

Last Updated: April 2014

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority enacted a conservation policy to develop, fund, and implement cost-effective water conservation and demand management programs.  We could not confirm if the utility has established explicit water efficiency targets.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

Though an energy-savings target has not been set, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority adopted a sustainability resolution in 2007 that included an objective to increase energy efficiency in operations; the authority also included a goal to develop an energy plan in their three-year strategic plan.  At their wastewater treatment plan, boilers use biogas captured from the treatment process. 

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

There is no funding in place to implement green stormwater infrastructure and we could not find information regarding locally enacted policies, rates, or incentives to encourage green infrastructure on private properties to manage stormwater.

Last Updated: April 2014

Local Government Score:
3.75 out of 15 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Carrboro’s Board of Aldermen adopted Resolution 78/2009-10 articulating a vision to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions by the proportional amount required to keep carbon dioxide levels under 350 parts per million in the atmosphere.  The town has not formally adopted a government operations goal to this end, but it is actively studying a 2% to 7% annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal with stakeholders.  

Last updated: April 2014

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Carrboro has purchased hybrids vehicles for its fleet in recent years, but we could not confirm if the town has formal fuel efficiency requirements or requirements for fuel-efficient vehicle types.  The town has adopted both a right-sizing policy and anti-idling policy for its fleet.  Carrboro does not have town-operated electric vehicle charging stations.

Public Lighting

Carrboro does not have efficiency requirements for public outdoor lighting, but the town has begun an outdoor replacement program and streetlights are scheduled to operate only when needed.

New Buildings and Equipment

While Carrboro does not have formal energy efficiency requirements for new municipal buildings, the town recently constructed its new fire station to LEED silver standards.  The town has built one new building since the first half of the 20th century, with one potential new building in the next decade; therefore, a broad building policy was not adopted.  Carrboro does not have a procurement policy that has provisions for energy efficiency.

Last updated: April 2014

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Carrboro does not regularly benchmark its municipal buildings and the town has not adopted a comprehensive retrofit strategy, but Carrboro has begun to plan for retrofits in capital budgeting.

Public Employees

Carrboro does not have policies to reduce the commutes of city workers, such as flex schedules and teleworking.

Last updated: April 2014