"Community buildings", or all the buildings besides municipal buildings (including residential and commercial buildings) are the largest single contributor to Carrboro's greenhouse gas footprint, with electricity consumption estimated to contribute about six times as much as natural gas consumption. The electricity supply continues to rely heavily on coal, along with nuclear energy. An emphasis on community buildings, and particularly on electrical consumption, is therefore an essential component of energy and climate protection planning in Carrboro. At a municipal level, however, the Town has limited legal authority and responsibility for the energy supply and efficiency of private buildings, and also limited capacity. The current best options identified for the Town to contribute include support for outreach and education and promoting a loan fund to small businesses.
From 2011-2013 and with support from federal stimulus funds, the Town pursued energy efficiency in buildings through the WISE (Worthwhile Investments Save Energy) program. WISE: provided loans for businesses through the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund (EERLF) and incentives for single-family homeowners and multifamily complexes; reached over 200 additional citizens through a grass roots energy efficiency outreach and education campaign.
The DSIRE database is a comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency. DSIRE is operated by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.