Duke's Climate Action Plan

Duke has developed a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that will guide the University in achieving climate neutrality by 2024.  This plan was developed in large part by Duke's Campus Sustainability Committee, which was formed in 2007.

CAP Recommendations

The graph below shows the potential reduction in emissions as the result of implementing recommended transportation and energy reduction measures detailed in the CAP.  These measures are displayed as reductions compared to a business-as-usual scenario of 426,466 MTCO2e for the University in 2050. The remaining emissions, in purple, represent what Duke would have to offset to become carbon neutral by a particular year.

GHG Future Projection

Reduction measures such as eliminating coal use on campus, energy conservation measures, installing solar PV, providing direct financial incentives for alternative transportation and improving regional transportation are several of the actions suggested in the CAP.   In addition to recommendations about energy and transportation, the CAP also makes recommendations for carbon offsets, communications and education. View a more complete list of CAP recommendations or the full Climate Action Plan.

CAP Implementation

Duke has achieved an 21% reduction in University emissions as of 2014, based on a 2007 baseline. Read more about Duke's emissions reductions.

This emissions reduction can be partially attributed to energy conservation measures and an elimination of coal use on campus, as well as the implementation of other Climate Action Plan measures.  An update on these measures can be found in the 2014 Sustainability Strategic Plan Progress Report. Notable successes since the CAP was adopted in 2009 include:

  • Eliminated coal use on campus in May 2011
  • Through efficiency upgrades to the steam system and elimination of coal, Duke has reduced emission from campus steam plants by 36% since 2007
  • Achieved 32% reduction in energy emissions in 2014 compared to 2007 baseline


  • Hired Transportation Demand Management coordinator
  • Launched Bull City Connector bus
  • Replaced 10 campus buses with two hybrid articulated buses and 6 ultra-low-sulfur diesel buses in fall 2011
  • GoPass offers fare-free access to regional public transportation for students and low cost access for employees
  • Reduced single occupancy vehicle trips by employees in the University by 4% since 2012


  • Swine waste to energy project on local farm operational May 2011
  • Duke-specific offsets available for internal purchase for individuals, departments and events
  • Completed evaluation of a pre-pilot energy efficiency program with participating houses energy use reduced by an average of 13%


  • Behavior-change competitions such as the Unpark Yourself Challenge
  • Sustainability signs installed in dorms and University academic buildings
  • Over 8,000 subscriptions to Sustainable Duke listserv
  • Over 350 employees have attended the Leading for Environmental Sustainability Workshop


  • 70 faculty became Trillium Fellows by participating in an annual workshop on integrating sustainability into curriculum
  • Over 400 courses with sustainability-related content were offered to students in academic year 2013-14

Additional factors, such as economic conditions and emissions content of purchased electricity, have also impacted the University's emissions.  Some of the more recent actions are not yet reflected in emissions inventory numbers.

Climate Action Plan: Public Documents and Presentations

Climate Action Plan Documents / Presentations

ppt 2013 Sustainability Strategic Plan Progress Report
pdf 2013 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update (PDF)
pdf 2012 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update (PDF)
pdf 2012 Sustainability Strategic Plan Progress Report (PDF)
pdf Sustainability Strategic Plan Fact Sheets (PDF)
pdf 2011 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update (PDF)
pdf GHG Update/CAP Progress Report -- May 2011 (PDF)
pdf GHG Update/CAP Progress Report -- May 2010 (PDF)
ppt 2008 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update
ppt Duke's 2004 GHG Report (powerpoint)
pdf Duke's 2004 GHG Inventory (PDF)