Campus, Features, Research

Building a Campus Community of Sustainability

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Building a Campus Community of Sustainability

Duke has been committed to building a culture of sustainability for decades. Efforts to reduce the university’s environmental impact include strategic planning, community education regarding sustainability on campus and the development of programs to positively influence campus sustainability behavior and operations.
Learn more about The Duke Climate Commitment

Building a Campus Community of Sustainability

Duke has been committed to building a culture of sustainability for decades. Efforts to reduce the university’s environmental impact include strategic planning, community education regarding sustainability on campus and the development of programs to positively influence campus sustainability behavior and operations.
Learn more about The Duke Climate Commitment

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Duke’s Chilled Water System

Duke’s chilled water system provides efficient cooling by shooting 39-degree water through a looped campus-wide network of around 15 miles of pipes laced through university and medical campus buildings. This network consists of three expansive central plants which use considerably less energy than having each individual building rely on its own air conditioning system.

Duke’s Chilled Water System

Duke’s chilled water system provides efficient cooling by shooting 39-degree water through a looped campus-wide network of around 15 miles of pipes laced through university and medical campus buildings. This network consists of three expansive central plants which use considerably less energy than having each individual building rely on its own air conditioning system.

Joshua Salaam hands out a coupon to a student studying and wearing a mask

The Duke Smart Home

The Duke Smart Home live-in laboratory serves as a unique research and educational program/facility focused on exploring sustainable living as well as the cutting-edge of environmentally friendly technology.
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The Duke Smart Home

The Duke Smart Home live-in laboratory serves as a unique research and educational program/facility focused on exploring sustainable living as well as the cutting-edge of environmentally friendly technology.
Learn More >

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The Duke Reclamation Pond

In response to a 2007 summer drought, Duke decided to expand efforts to find a sustainable and secure way of handling water needs to properly cool campus buildings and labs without depleting Durham’s limited potable water reservoir. As a result, the Duke Pond, a 5.5-acre water reclamation project, collects rainwater and storm runoff from 22% of West Campus’ area for use at Duke’s Chiller Plant, saving approximately 100 million gallons of potable water each year.
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The Duke Reclamation Pond

In response to a 2007 summer drought, Duke decided to expand efforts to find a sustainable and secure way of handling water needs to properly cool campus buildings and labs without depleting Durham’s limited potable water reservoir. As a result, the Duke Pond, a 5.5-acre water reclamation project, collects rainwater and storm runoff from 22% of West Campus’ area for use at Duke’s Chiller Plant, saving approximately 100 million gallons of potable water each year.
Learn More >

Joshua Salaam hands out a coupon to a student studying and wearing a mask

Supply Chain

Sustainability is built into Duke's supply chain in numerous ways, such as Procurement Services' Surplus and Supplier Diversity programs. These programs lead directly to increases in items donated to non-profit organizations, surplus property items donated for Duke departmental use, and increased spending with minority, women, veteran, small, and LGBTQ owned businesses.
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Supply Chain

Sustainability is built into Duke's supply chain in numerous ways, such as Procurement Services' Surplus and Supplier Diversity programs. These programs lead directly to increases in items donated to non-profit organizations, surplus property items donated for Duke departmental use, and increased spending with minority, women, veteran, small, and LGBTQ owned businesses.
Learn More >

Members of the cteam put a mask on a statue on campus

Solar Panels

Duke University continues to bolster its renewable energy capabilities through the purchase of 101 megawatts of solar capacity from three new solar facilities planned for North Carolina. In 2019, construction was completed on a new 750 kW solar photovoltaic system on the Research Drive Parking garage. One of Duke’s on-campus solar installations is a 45 kW solar photovoltaic system and 15 kW solar hot water system on Grainger Hall, one of the buildings of the Nicholas School of the Environment. 

Solar Panels

Duke University continues to bolster its renewable energy capabilities through the purchase of 101 megawatts of solar capacity from three new solar facilities planned for North Carolina. In 2019, construction was completed on a new 750 kW solar photovoltaic system on the Research Drive Parking garage. One of Duke’s on-campus solar installations is a 45 kW solar photovoltaic system and 15 kW solar hot water system on Grainger Hall, one of the buildings of the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Joshua Salaam hands out a coupon to a student studying and wearing a mask

Hidden Sustainability at Duke

While many efforts to reduce Duke's environmental impact are at the forefront of discussion and on full display, the campus and greater community are home to a number of hidden sustainability projects that, while discreet in nature, are essential in collecting rainwater, preventing erosion, and helping to cool buildings. The water in the cisterns irrigates the plants and grass in Duke Medicine Circle and a handful of other nearby landscaped areas.
Learn More >

Hidden Sustainability at Duke

While many efforts to reduce Duke's environmental impact are at the forefront of discussion and on full display, the campus and greater community are home to a number of hidden sustainability projects that, while discreet in nature, are essential in collecting rainwater, preventing erosion, and helping to cool buildings. The water in the cisterns irrigates the plants and grass in Duke Medicine Circle and a handful of other nearby landscaped areas.
Learn More >

Joshua Salaam hands out a coupon to a student studying and wearing a mask

Duke's Sustainable Dining and Food

Duke Dining recognizes the modern food system often pursues efficiencies and profit at the expense of environmental health, community well-being, and fair economic relationships. Faced with this reality, Duke Dining eagerly took on the role of catalyst for changing the system. In 2021, 19% of all food purchases were local, 26% of seafood was local or MSC Certified by Seafood Watch Best Choices/Good Alternatives, and 100% of Coffee Purchases were Fair Trade.
Learn More >

Duke's Sustainable Dining and Food

Duke Dining recognizes the modern food system often pursues efficiencies and profit at the expense of environmental health, community well-being, and fair economic relationships. Faced with this reality, Duke Dining eagerly took on the role of catalyst for changing the system. In 2021, 19% of all food purchases were local, 26% of seafood was local or MSC Certified by Seafood Watch Best Choices/Good Alternatives, and 100% of Coffee Purchases were Fair Trade.
Learn More >

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Duke's Sustainable Transportation

With more than 30,000 employees, thousands of students, and tens of thousands of visitors, Duke University and the Health System generate significant demand for transportation. Duke strives to increase the convenience and incentives for commuters using alternative modes of transportation in order to achieve carbon neutrality, preserve green space, and prevent congestion.

Duke's Sustainable Transportation

With more than 30,000 employees, thousands of students, and tens of thousands of visitors, Duke University and the Health System generate significant demand for transportation. Duke strives to increase the convenience and incentives for commuters using alternative modes of transportation in order to achieve carbon neutrality, preserve green space, and prevent congestion.

A shirt showing the 6ft equivalents of 2 Nuggets, 4 Peaches and and 10 campus squirrels

The Last Coal Train

The final coal delivery by rail car in 2009 marked the end of an era and a step toward reducing Duke's use of coal and a big step toward sustainability and the reduction of the university’s carbon footprint. By tapping into other fuel sources and investing in the re-opening of the historic steam plant on East Campus, coal consumption that year was reduced by approximately 70 percent. Duke completely eliminated the use of coal on campus by 2011.
Learn More >

The Last Coal Train

The final coal delivery by rail car in 2009 marked the end of an era and a step toward reducing Duke's use of coal and a big step toward sustainability and the reduction of the university’s carbon footprint. By tapping into other fuel sources and investing in the re-opening of the historic steam plant on East Campus, coal consumption that year was reduced by approximately 70 percent. Duke completely eliminated the use of coal on campus by 2011.
Learn More >

Members of the cteam put a mask on a statue on campus

The Duke Campus Farm

The Duke Campus Farm, a one-acre working farm owned and operated by the university, provides thousands of pounds of sustainably-grown produce and hosts food systems education. Year-round curricular and co-curricular programming and engagement opportunities are provided for the greater Duke and Durham community to reimagine the ways food is cultivated and accessed.
Learn More >

The Duke Campus Farm

The Duke Campus Farm, a one-acre working farm owned and operated by the university, provides thousands of pounds of sustainably-grown produce and hosts food systems education. Year-round curricular and co-curricular programming and engagement opportunities are provided for the greater Duke and Durham community to reimagine the ways food is cultivated and accessed.
Learn More >

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