Town of Chapel Hill - Energy Conservation Requirements for Town Buildings

July 19, 2023


The Town of Chapel Hill’s energy-conservation ordinance requires all new or expanded buildings constructed by and for the town to achieve a Silver level certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and be designed to meet the applicable Architecture 2030 fossil fuel energy reduction target from the 2030 Challenge, unless the council grants a waiver. Renovated buildings with additions of five thousand (5,000) square feet of gross occupied area must also be designed to achieve no less than half of the applicable Architecture 2030 fossil fuel reduction target from The 2030 Challenge. The town council may require buildings and building additions less than 5,000 square feet to be certified as well.

The fossil fuel energy reduction target percentages of the 2030 Challenge are as follows and may be met through the implementation of innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing twenty (20) percent renewable energy.

Before 2020 - 70%
2020 - 80%
2025 - 90%
2030 - Carbon Neutral*

In order to be selected to design a town building, an architectural firm must have at least one LEED-accredited professional on the design team who is directly involved in the day-to-day management of the project. For new construction and building additions required to achieve LEED certification under this ordinance, the town requires either the project architect or engineer to monitor the energy performance of the building and to assist the building's staff in optimizing energy use of the building during the first year.

Contract for project design services require the development of a commissioning plan as part of the construction documents. The commissioning plan must include provisions for initial commissioning upon completion of the construction project and provisions for a commissioning evaluation to take place after the building has a 12-month utility billing history.

*Using no fossil fuel GHG-emitting energy to operate.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: North Carolina
Incentive Type: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar - Passive
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Daylighting
Green Building Requirement: All town-owned new buildings or new additions to existing buildings of greater than 5,000 sq ft must achieve LEED Silver certification and the Architecture 2030 fossil fuel energy reduction targets from The 2030 Challenge.


Name: Chapel Hill Code of Ordinances, Article VII, Sec. 5-121 et seq.
Name: Chapel Hill Ordinance (2018-06-20/O-8)


Name: John Richardson
Organization: Town of Chapel Hill Sustainability and Resili
Address: 405 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill NC 27514-5705
Phone: (919) 969-5075

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.