Accolades and Leadership
Raleigh's sustainability efforts and initiatives seek to improve the quality of life for all residents, promote emerging technologies, create new job opportunities and cultivate local businesses and entrepreneurs. Achievements in this arena have garnered the City numerous awards and accolades, and make Raleigh a leader in sustainability.
Raleigh received a 4-STAR Community Rating for national excellence in sustainability, the first community in North Carolina to achieve certification through the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR). STAR is a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties, where communities evaluate themselves across seven goal areas related to sustainability. Ten additional communities achieved a 4-STAR rating including Austin, TX; Tucson, AZ; and Washington, DC.
STAR Communities’ Executive Director Hilari Varnadore presented the community’s 4-STAR rating to Mayor Nancy McFarlane during the 2015 City of Raleigh Environmental Awards celebration on April 22. Raleigh’s annual Environmental Awards event recognizes individuals and organizations dedicated to being good stewards of the community’s environment.
The City of Raleigh Office Office of Sustainability won the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) 2013 Community Leadership award which recognizes any nonprofit or government organization advancing sustainable energy through notable accomplishments, innovative programs or exemplary leadership in North Carolina.
The City won for six major sustainability projects: BigBelly Solar Trash Compactors, Raleigh Police Vehicle Propane Hybrid Conversion, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, Downtown Raleigh Sustainability Walking Tour, Police Anti-Idling Technology, and Solar Photo Voltaic and Sustainability Kiosk. (Learn more about these projects below.)
The Public Technology Institute (PTI) selected the City of Raleigh Office of Sustainability to receive six PTI 2012 - 2013 Solutions Awards for outstanding achievements in local government applications of technology that enhance community services, improve internal operations and reduce costs. The Office of Sustainability was recognized for accomplishments that demonstrate collaboration, innovation and dedication to public service in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and Sustainability.
- 2012-2013 PTI Award for GIS was given to the Downtown Raleigh Sustainability Walking Tour that includes an online map featuring information, the walking trail, photos, video vignettes and walking distance calculations. The map is also accessed using the City's first QR code. The JouleBug sustainability mobile app allows users to earn pins and badges for taking the Downtown Raleigh Sustainability Walking Tour.
- 2012-2013 PTI Award for Sustainability was given to the BigBelly Solar for Waste and Recycling project. The Office of Sustainability partnered with the City's Solid Waste Services Department to install 45 BigBelly Solar trash compactors that use solar photovoltaic panels to compact waste and send a wireless signal to service specialists when a pickup is required. According to data gathered during the 2012 pilot phase, annual collection costs in the Glenwood South and Fayetteville Street areas dropped from $52,959 to $1,722. This technology saves time, fuel and money while encouraging recycling and reducing the City's carbon footprint.
- 2012-2013 PTI Award for Sustainability was given to the City of Raleigh Police Vehicle Propane Hybrid Conversion project. The Office of Sustainability partnered with the Police Department to convert 20 patrol cars to propane hybrids which run primarily on the cheaper fuel while reducing carbon emissions and making the cars more efficient in major emergencies or disasters. During a 12-month period the City realized $80,400 in savings. The City also developed a support infrastructure and trained employees to perform installation and maintenance of this technology.
- 2013-2013 PTI Significant Achievement Award in Sustainability was given to the City of Raleigh Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure project. The Office of Sustainability worked with City departments and local businesses to develop the City's fleet, develop the technology-based infrastructure for EV charging stations and operational expertise, and remove and reduce barriers to electric vehicle adoption. The City installed 29 EV charging stations including a solar powered charging station. Periscope software monitors use of the charging stations.
- 2012-2013 PTI Significant Achievement Award in Sustainability was given to the City of Raleigh Police Anti-Idling Technology project. The Office of Sustainability partnered with the Raleigh Police Department to install anti-idling technology in 29 of the City's police fleet vehicles. During just the first quarter of usage, these 29 units saved approximately 962 gallons of fossil fuel and prevented 33,659.6 ghost miles (potential miles that could have been traveled during the time a vehicle idles).
- 2012-2013 PTI Significant Achievement Award in Sustainability for the Solar Photo Voltaic and Sustainability Kiosk for the Raleigh Convention Center (RCC). Raleigh has multiple solar arrays on different sites. The City wished to show the individual sites as well as aggregate the data to show total renewable power generation. The Office of Sustainability worked with various departments and local businesses to create and build an internet based kiosk located at RCC with an interactive touch screen monitor to display this information.
- Raleigh receives an Environmental Defense Fund award in recognition of the City's efforts and continued partnership with the National Climate Corps program. Raleigh is the first city in the United States to participate in the program which places top-tier students working towards a Master's Degree in business administration with leading organizations to identify and implement energy efficiency plans.
- Raleigh is recognized as a Community Champion for Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness by Advanced Energy, the Triangle J Council of Governments, and the NC PEV Taskforce
- Raleigh named the Nation's Most Sustainable Midsize Community by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Siemens for the City's commitment to developing a 'green economy.' Specifically cited was the Green Building Training program and Raleigh's leadership in electric vehicle infrastructure.
- Raleigh receives the Triangle CREW Champion Award for Community Enhancement
- Raleigh receives the NC Mobile CARE Policy/Organization Award for efforts in improving air quality
- Raleigh is the first community in North Carolina to achieve certification through the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR); Raleigh received a 4-STAR rating. STAR is a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties, where communities evaluate themselves across seven goal areas related to sustainability.
- Raleigh is recognized as a Community Champion for Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness by Advanced Energy, the Triangle Council of Governments, and the NC PEV Taskforce
- Raleigh is the first municipality nationwide to test wireless electric vehicle charging technology.
- Recognized as a global leader in "2012 EV Casebook: A Look at the Global EV Movement" report by Center for Climate & Energy Solutions (C2ES)
- One of the first three U.S. cities, and only city on the east coast, to participate with Rocky Mountain Institute's "Project Get Ready" to prepare for national roll-out of PEVs.
- LEED Platinum - Wilder's Grove Services Center is the nation's first integrated solid waste facility
- LEED Platinum - Raleigh Transit Facility is the nation's first integrated administration and maintenance facility
- LEED Silver Certified - Raleigh Convention Center is one of the first two new construction convention centers nationwide
- First municipality in the nation to use Periscope software system to monitor use of electric vehicle charging stations and to provide enhanced energy use analytics in buildings
- First LED City in the World
- Installed first thin-film photovoltaic panels in southeastern United States
- First municipality in the nation to partner with the Environmental Defense Fund in the Climate Corps Program
- First municipality to develop state legislation allowing cities to implement sustainability-focused projects that benefit their community
- First large-scale Solar LED Off-Grid Lighting project in North Carolina