Sustainable Duke develops small-scale, pilot projects that provide community co-benefits and create educational opportunities for Duke University students as the opportunity arises. Below, you can find more information about projects we’ve developed and projects we’ve researched, but have not yet implemented.


Swine Waste-to-Energy

The first project developed was a swine waste-to-energy project located in Yadkinville, North Carolina. Loyd Ray Farms is a swine operation that has a capacity of more than 8,000 animals, whose waste was captured to create biogas through this project. The biogas was burned on-site in either a 65kW microturbine or flare, creating renewable energy and carbon offsets. The project was decommissioned in 2021 after a successful 10-year project term.


Avoided Conversion

Sustainable Duke investigated partnering with a local land trust to protect a forested parcel of land in Durham County. By placing a conservation easement on the parcel, the carbon contained in the trees and soil that would have been released into the atmosphere through development is prevented. This project idea stems from the work of a Nicholas School master's project, and used a GIS tool those students created. 



Urban Forestry

Sustainable Duke partners with the City of Durham and Keep Durham Beautiful, along with other partners, to increase the number of trees planted in vulnerable communities. This type of offset project provides many opportunities to strengthen university and community relationships through partnerships with local municipalities, businesses, and other schools. It also provides students with volunteer opportunities in their local community.


Wetland Restoration

Sustainable Duke worked with the experts at the Duke Wetland Center and a private landowner to explore the potential restoration of a pocosin wetland in Hyde County, North Carolina. This land was once a natural wetland, but was converted to arid agricultural land decades ago.


Residential Energy

Sustainable Duke pioneered a pilot program that has since been discontinued to help Duke employees reduce home energy use and increase renewable energy use through education, incentives, and discounts. Along with this pilot, Sustainable Duke supported the Help My House energy efficiency retrofit program for low income mobile home residents in South Carolina.