Town Awards


tree city usa award

The Town of Chapel Hill is proud to be a recipient of this award for the past 19 years! Any town or city can be part of this program if they complete the four pillars:

  1. Designate someone to be responsible of all trees on Town property. For Chapel Hill the Town Arborist under Parks and Recreation department is in charge.

  2. Have a basic tree ordinance or local law that says the town will take care of its trees and puts the arborist in charge.

  3. Put money aside for taking care of and planting trees.

  4. Celebrate Arbor Day! Here in Chapel Hill we celebrate in late November, this year we plan on extending the celebration to a week.

For more on Chapel Hill’s trees click the learn more button below.


Bicycle Friendly community award

The Bicycle Friendly Community award is given to organizations that are dedicated to creating:

  1. Safe spaces for biking. Bike lanes throughout town got us points here.

  2. Safe bike education. By promoting safety through reducing speed limits on roads and expanding our bike network.

  3. Promoting bike culture. On the University’s campus there is a bike sharing program that promotes biking around town for everyone.

  4. Continuing to plan for bikes. We have plans to grow our green ways and bike paths. Learn more about projects coming up here.

You can see our Report Card and what we can continue working on by clicking the button below.


SolSmart award

This award is given to organizations that provide the best accommodations for the solar energy community. Town of Chapel Hill won the gold award for the following:

  1. Created an online permitting checklist, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers.

  2. Reviewed local zoning codes and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar energy.

  3. Allowed accessory use solar by right in all major zones

  4. Cross-trained inspection and permitting staff on solar via in-person or online resources

  5. Hosted a Community “Solarize” campaign, allowing residents to benefit from group discounts and affordable solar financing

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best workplaces for commuters

The Town won this award for meeting the National Standard of Excellence for commuters. This means the Town provides the following for commuters:

  1. Offer a primary benefit. In our Town this includes tax-free transit such as the fare-free bus system.

  2. Offer three secondary benefits such as shuttles to and from transit stations, ride sharing, reduced parking cost for van pools and carpools, etc.

  3. Work sites with this award have free emergency rides home. Our bus system is an example of this point.

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Millbank’s Social Marketing Award for Innovation in the Environmental Field

Our staff won this award at the National Social Marketing Conference in 2018 for their work with GoChapelHill. Over 200 attend this conference but only 3 are selected for the award. Recipients are selected for their positive impact on the environment through community outreach programming.


Carolina Hult Prize

Phyta is a startup created through our Launch Program in partnership with UNC. This start up designs new strategies for seaweed cultivation that promote or can be used for plastic substitutions, animal feed stock, climate reliance and economic development. The Phyta team competed against 41 other teams over 6 weeks to win the Hult Prize.