What is STAR?
The STAR Community Rating System is the nation’s first
framework for evaluating, quantifying, and improving
the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities.
The STAR Community Rating System uniquely combines:
 A common framework for sustainability encompassing the social,
economic and environmental dimensions of community;
 A rating system that drives continuous improvement and fosters
competition; and
 An online tool that gathers, organizes, analyzes, and presents
information required to meet sustainability goals
What STAR is not . . .

A green ranking initiative
– STAR is a rating system that integrates equity
and economic considerations.

A sustainability toolkit
– STAR’s measures were vetted by technical
experts.

An audit of municipal performance
– STAR measures community-wide condition
change.
STAR will help my community . . .
1.
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7.
Streamline data collection then
benchmark and measure progress.
Make more informed decisions.
Learn from a common framework.
Plan for and implement effective
strategies.
Marshall credibility and
recognition.
Communicate progress to the
community and its leaders.
Work with limited resources.
“There is no common way of defining and
measuring sustainability. We need a system
to quantify how we’re doing and to guide
us to further leadership, and that system
should be designed by the cities who will
use it.”
- Sadhu Johnston, STAR Chairman Vancouver, BC
STAR Communities
Board & Leadership
Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver, British Columbia
Shannon Parry, Santa Monica, CA
Jason Hartke, U.S. Green Building Council
Chris Hoene, National League of Cities
Bracken Hendricks, Center for American Progress
Michael Schmitz, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
Hilari Varnadore, Director, STAR Communities
STAR Sponsors & Funders
American Institute of Architects
Argosy Foundation
Bullitt Foundation*
City of Chicago, IL
City of Dallas, TX
City of Fayetteville, AR
City of Portland, OR
City of Santa Monica, CA
City of Seattle, WA
District of Columbia*
ESRI
Home Depot Foundation
Johnson Foundation
Kresge Foundation*
The Kendeda Fund
National Building Museum
National League of Cities
Overbrook Foundation
Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation
Scherman Foundation
Siemens
Summit Foundation*
Surdna Foundation*
Turner Foundation
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Green Building Council*
Waste Management, Inc.
Westchester County, NY
*denotes 2012 support
STAR’s Stakeholder Process
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Established a diverse, consensus-based
stakeholder engagement process
More than 200 volunteers representing cities
and counties, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, national associations,
universities, utilities, and private corporations
STAR’s Committee Structure
Executive
Committee
Steering
Committee
Beta/Pilot
Communities
Technical Advisory Committees
Environment
Economy
Society
Natural
Systems
Economic
Prosperity
Education, Arts
& Community
Planning &
Design
Employment &
Workforce
Training
Health &
Safety
Energy &
Climate
Ad Hoc
Committees
Affordability &
Social Equity
STAR Beta Communities
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Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Boulder, CO
Chattanooga, TN
Cranberry Township, PA
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Des Moines, IA
King County, WA
New York, NY
St. Louis, MO
Washington, DC
Invited STAR Pilot Communities
STAR Guiding Principles
Think and act systemically.
Instill resiliency.
Foster innovation.
Redefine progress.
Live within means.
Cultivate collaboration.
Ensure equity.
Embrace diversity.
Inspire leadership.
Continuously improve.
Framework:
STAR Community Rating System
Terms
Definition
Goals
Comprehensive community-level
aspirations toward achieving sustainability
Objectives
A clear, desired outcome intended to move
the community toward the goal
Evaluation Measures
Community level outcomes representing
the actual state of a system and used to
identify progress relative to Objective
Local actions are foundational or
implementation based; proven effective and
essential toward moving the needle on
outcome and Objective
Framework:
Community Level Outcomes
Community Level Outcomes are: the measureable
aims or purposes of each objective; to be focused on
the community-scale results and not on local
government operations
Two Primary Types:
GOAL
OBJECTIVE
OUTCOMES
Trend Lines: Capture progress in a specific
direction over time.
Thresholds: Establish a specific limit above or
below which the community would receive full
credit.
ACTIONS
Framework:
Local Actions
Foundational Actions:
Education and outreach (EO)
Plan development (PD)
Policy and code adjustment (PoC)
Partnerships and collaboration (PC)
Practice improvements (PI)
Inventory, assessment or survey (IAS)
Implementation-based Actions:
Programs and services (PS)
Facility and infrastructure improvement (FI)
Enforcement and incentives (EI)
GOAL
OBJECTIVE
OUTCOMES
ACTIONS
STAR’s Sustainability Goals
1
Built Environment
Achieve livability, choice, and access for all where people
live, work, and play
2
Climate & Energy
Reduce climate impacts through adaptation and mitigation
efforts and increase resource efficiency
3
Education, Arts &
Community
Empower vibrant, educated, connected, and diverse
communities
4
Economy & Jobs
Create equitably shared prosperity and access to quality
jobs
5
Equity & Empowerment
Ensure equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity for all
citizens
6
Health & Safety
Strengthen communities to be healthy, resilient and safe
places for residents and businesses
7
Natural Systems
Protect and restore the natural resource base upon which
life depends
Framework of STAR Objectives
1 - Built
Environment
2- Climate &
Energy
Ambient Noise
& Light
Climate
Adaptation
Community
Water Systems
3- Education,
Arts &
Community
4- Economy &
Jobs
5- Equity &
Empowerment
6- Health &
Safety
7- Natural
Systems
Arts & Culture
Business
Retention &
Development
Civic Engagement
Active Living
Green
Infrastructure
Greenhouse Gas
Mitigation
Community
Cohesion
Green Market
Development
Civil & Human
Rights
Community
Health & Health
System
Invasive Species
Compact &
Complete
Communities
Greening the
Energy Supply
Educational
Opportunity &
Attainment
Local Economy
Environmental
Justice
Emergency
Prevention &
Response
Natural
Resources
Protection
Housing
Affordability
Industrial Sector
Resource
Efficiency
Historic
Preservation
Quality Jobs &
Living Wages
Equitable Services
& Access
Food Access &
Nutrition
Outdoor Air
Quality
Infill &
Redevelopment
Resource
Efficient
Buildings
Social & Cultural
Diversity
Targeted
Industry
Development
Human Services
Indoor Air Quality
Water in the
Environment
Public Spaces
Resource
Efficient Public
Infrastructure
Workforce
Readiness
Poverty
Prevention &
Alleviation
Natural & Human
Hazards
Working Lands
Transportation
Choices
Waste
Minimization
Safe
Communities
Climate & Energy Goal Area
Resource Efficient Buildings Objective
PURPOSE: Improve the energy and water efficiency of the community’s residential, commercial,
and institutional building stock
Community-level Outcomes
Outcome 1: Energy Efficiency
Demonstrate achievement of reductions in the energy use intensity of the community’s building
stock over time
Full credit: Awarded for maintaining the 80% by 2050 track
Partial credit: Awarded on a sliding scale for smaller reductions
Outcome 2: Water Efficiency
Demonstrate achievement of reductions in the water use intensity of the community’s building
stock over time
Full credit: Awarded for maintaining the 80% by 2050 track
Partial credit: Awarded on a sliding scale for smaller reductions
Outcome 3: Certified Building Stock
Overall increasing trend in the percentage of buildings that achieve certification in energy efficiency
and green construction compared to a baseline year, not predating 2000
Climate & Energy Goal Area
Resource Efficient Buildings Objective
Local Actions
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Adopt a building energy efficiency plan to improve the energy and water efficiency of
commercial, residential and institutional buildings in the community
Adopt or upgrade building codes to ensure that new and renovated buildings are more
water and energy efficient
Adopt an energy and water use information disclosure ordinance requiring energy and
water users to disclose consumption levels
Create an education and outreach campaign or challenge to engage citizens and businesses
in energy and water efficiency efforts
Establish a committee to provide recommendations on policies related to resource
efficiency in buildings or integrate this role into the work of existing committees
Work with the local utilities to improve energy efficiency programs and increase submetering throughout the community
Train inspectors to enforce water and energy efficiency standards in adopted building codes
Incentivize energy and water efficient certified buildings
Create a program to help homeowners and renters upgrade to more energy and water
efficient homes
Renovate local government buildings to improve energy and water use efficiency
Climate & Energy Goal Area
Waste Minimization Objective
PURPOSE: Reduce and reuse material waste produced in the community
Community-level Outcomes
Outcome 1: Total Solid Waste
Demonstrate progress in reductions of total solid waste generated within the jurisdiction that is
disposed of via landfill or incinerator.
Full credit will be awarded for reductions toward the goal of 100 % by 2050 from a given baseline
year. Partial credit will be awarded as follows:
60% – 79% reductions, 80% of points available
40% – 59% reductions, 60% of points available
20% – 39% reductions, 40% of points available
5% – 19% reductions, 20% of points available
Climate & Energy Goal Area
Waste Minimization Objective
Local Actions
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Creation of a Waste Management Plan
Create a public education campaign or a targeted outreach effort to inform residents and
businesses of the role that they play in achieving the waste reduction targets
Develop or participate in a regional coalition that enhances the jurisdiction’s ability to
address waste management targets
Provide services to enable residents and businesses to recycle and reduce their waste
footprint
Implement incentives or enforce regulations ensuring that residents and businesses are
working toward community waste reductions targets
Collaboratively create and run at least 2 targeted recycling programs at key locations
throughout the community
Operate at least two specific waste management programs for critical waste stream types
found in the community, such as: organic waste, hazardous waste, electronic waste, and
construction / demolition waste
Create a waste-to-energy conversion system for the community
Adopt specific product bans that will significantly advance progress towards waste
reduction goals
Natural Systems Goal Area
Green Infrastructure Objective
PURPOSE: Design and maintain a network of green infrastructure features that integrate with
the built environment to conserve ecosystem functions and provide associated benefits to
human populations
Community-level Outcomes
Outcome 1: Designated Green Infrastructure
Demonstrate that 35% of the jurisdiction’s land area has protected vegetated surfaces performing at a
minimum two of the following functions: Localized cooling through tree canopy cover, green roofs or
green walls; Water management through wetlands, stream buffers, and permeable surfaces; or
Recreation through parks and/or greenways
-ORDemonstrate incremental progress of between 2% and 5% change compared to a baseline year
toward the goal of 35%
Outcome 2: Distribution of Green Infrastructure
Demonstrate that 85% of the population lives within a 1/2-mile walk distance from green
infrastructure features that are performing at a minimum two of the above listed functions
Natural Systems Goal Area
Green Infrastructure Objective
Local Actions
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Create a community wide green infrastructure plan that is integrated with other relevant local
plans
Adopt a policy requiring relevant departments be engaged during early reviews of proposed
developments to ensure that project sites are evaluated for green infrastructure potential and
environmental protections are put in place prior to construction
Create incentive programs to encourage land owners to adopt green infrastructure practices that
link to the broader green infrastructure systems
Increase the percentage of funding invested in green infrastructure
Adopt local design criteria and associated codes that require proactive green infrastructure
practices for new developments
Upgrade public spaces and public buildings based upon locally adopted or recognized best
practices in green infrastructure. Where possible, create demonstration projects to enhance
public support
Partner with key community groups and other stakeholders to ensure that green infrastructure
practices are used in appropriate settings
Provide for ongoing maintenance of green infrastructure at level required to maintain
evapotranspiring functions
Establish a green infrastructure monitoring program and regularly report on status of desired
outcomes
Natural Systems Goal Area
Natural Resources Protection Objective
PURPOSE: Protect, enhance and restore natural ecosystems and cultural landscapes to confer
resilience and support clean water and air, food supply, and public safety
Community-level Outcomes
Outcome 1: Priority natural systems areas
Achieve or demonstrate incremental progress towards achievement of natural system areas targets
relative to the baseline and horizon year of a locally-adopted plan
Outcome 2: Wetlands, streams and shoreline buffers
Achieve no net loss of these critical resources
Outcome 3: Connectivity
Increase the area of land directly connected to regional natural systems in order to improve
ecosystem services
Outcome 4: Restoration
Reduce the difference between the actual acreage and the goal acreage of restoration targets as
established in the Natural Systems Plan
Natural Systems Goal Area
Natural Resources Protection Objective
Local Actions
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Develop a plan to protect and restore natural resources through land conservation, corridor
connectivity, and restoration of biological integrity and function
Create an advisory board with scientific experts and other local stakeholders to inform land
conservation and restoration activities
Partner with adjacent jurisdictions, state and federal agencies, and local or regional nonprofit organizations to advance land conservation and restoration efforts
Adopt land use regulations that establish appropriate wetland, stream, and shoreline buffer
widths and adjacent land uses
Adopt land use strategies to incentivize permanent land conservation
Implement local and market-based financing strategies to acquire land or development
easements or fund restoration and maintenance activities
Restore, maintain and monitor conserved natural lands to increase natural resource
resilience, adaptability, and biological integrity
Sponsor educational and outreach activities to increase ecological literacy and knowledge
about natural resources protection
Recognitions & Certifications
Participating STAR Community: Registered intent to use
the rating system
Reporting STAR Community (50-199 points): Registered
intent to report and met basic prerequisite of
completing objectives in all 7 goal areas
3-STAR Community (200-399 points)
Recognized for sustainability leadership
4-STAR Community (400-599 points)
Recognized for national excellence
5-STAR Community (600+ points)
Recognized as top tier achiever in national
sustainability
Release Dates, STAR Products
OCT
NOV
Release, STAR Community Rating System (free)
Release, STAR Community Rating System Technical Guide
STAR Pilot Community Program commences
Release of the online reporting tool (for pilot use only)
National launch of all STAR Community products + services
MAR
For more information:
Hilari Varnadore, Director
(202) 379-8524
[email protected]
Claudia Hernandez, Senior Program Officer
Daniella Hirschfeld, Technical Manager
Aaron Lande, Technical Writer
Andrea Peet, Program Manager
Thor Peterson, Technical Writer/Innovation Credits
STAR Communities
1200 First Street NE 7th floor  Washington DC 20002
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STAR Communities - National League of Cities

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