Green Projects and Environmental Initiatives

Last updated Jun. 02, 2016 - 1:51 pm

Raleigh has embarked on several environmental initiatives to promote conservation and sustainability. Some of these green projects and are highlighted below.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) in Raleigh

Solar LEDs at the Marsh Creek Landscape Facility

LEDs represent an emerging solid-state technology that has potential to revolutionize lighting. LEDs are small microchips that produce light very efficiently, more efficiently that either standard incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lights, or other technologies like high pressure sodium lamps and metal halide lamps commonly used in outdoor lighting.

Learn more about Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) in Raleigh

WaterWise Garden Showcases Drought Resistant Landscaping

Sedums in the Water Wise Garden

This downtown WaterWise Garden serves as an example of xeriscaping, filled with plants able to thrive in Raleigh's hot and sometimes drought filled summers. Volunteers transformed the derelict flower bed by planting drought resistant trees, shrubs, grasses, and succulents able to store water and nutrients in their roots, stems, and leaves from year to year.

Solar Array at E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant

Water Treament Plant's Solar Array

Raleigh's E. M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant is now home to one of the state's largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays. This project is made possible by Progress Energy's SunSense Commercial Solar PV program, which encourages the development of renewable energy. The power generated by this array is roughly equal to the annual energy demand of 22 homes.

Learn more about Solar Array at E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant

Fire Station Rainwater Harvesting

Fire Engine No. 26 parked outside of Fire Station No. 26

Raleigh has initiated a new effort to green several fire stations by installing rainwater harvesting systems and rain gardens. The City is partnering with Wake County to sponsor eleven project locations to receive a network of cisterns aimed at collecting rainwater. The goal of this program is to replace uses of our drinking water with the harvested rainwater collected in the cisterns.

The R-Line

One of the City's green and blue R-Line buses

The R-Line is Downtown Raleigh's mode to connect employees, residents and visitors to retail, restaurants, entertainment venues and parking in the Central Business District. The service has its own distinct look and feel from regular GoRaleigh bus service. The green and blue colors of the hybrid buses emphasize its unique "green" attribute; they stand for blue air and green earth.

Learn more about The R-Line

Five Points Center for Active Adults and Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center Green Roofs

Green Roof

The goal of the Green Roof Program is to substantially reduce stormwater runoff and reduce energy use. The native plants installed on the roof of these facilities will soak up the rainwater reducing initial runoff. In addition, the plants will act as a layer of insulation on top of the roof to reduce heating and cooling costs. The green roof program also serves as a public education and outreach opportunity.

Fire Station Solar Water Heater

The implementation team for the solar hot water heater at Fire Station 15.

Fire Station No. 15 is now relying on the sun for its hot water. A solar thermal hot water heating system was installed to supplement a natural gas unit that had been the station's only source of hot water. The solar water heating system consists of three solar collectors on top of the station's roof, a solar water tank, heat exchanger and other associated equipment.

Fred Fletcher Park Water Garden

Water lillies blooming in the water garden.

While this water garden and wetland naturally filters and cleans stormwater runoff before flowing into Pigeon House Branch, it has also transformed an area of the park into a new amenity with it's variety of evergreen and perennial plants. The new water garden created an ecosystem for butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, ducks, and other new wildlife calling Fred Fletcher Park home.

Vehicle Fleet Hybrids

One of the City's hybrid cars used by staff

Raleigh is one of the founding members of the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition whose mission is to encourage and accelerate the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the Triangle by creating partnerships to develop a market and supporting infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. The City has used alternative fuel vehicles in its fleet of automobiles for the past eight years.

Learn more about Vehicle Fleet Hybrids


Partnerships with businesses, other municipalities, and organizations are critical for connecting the dots and improving our sustainability programs.

The City of Raleigh works with many partners:

  • The Rocky Mountain Institute partnered with the City of Raleigh through Project Get Ready, an initiative to prepare cities for the introduction of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • North Carolina State University is our partner in Energy Management and Solar Intervention.
  • The Triangle J Council of Governments is a voluntary organization of municipal and county governments within Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange and Wake counties. It is one of 17 regional councils established in 1972 by the General Assembly to aid, assist, and improve the capabilities of local governments in administration, planning, fiscal management, and development.
  • Cree, Inc. has made the City of Raleigh the very first LED city in the world.
  • Progress Energy is lending a helping hand to make us a more sustainable city.
  • Advanced Energy is doing their part to help make the city a greener place.

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