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New "Star" Program: An Index for Sustainable Communities

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  • LForouhi
    New Star Program: An Index for Sustainable Communities
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2007
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      New "Star" Program: An Index for Sustainable Communities

      Chicago, IL � Starting in 2008, local governments will have a new, standardized framework to plan, track and claim their environmental and sustainability work. The Star Community Index, announced today at the U.S. Green Building Council�s Green Build conference, is sponsored by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the USGBC, and the Center for American Progress (CAP) and builds upon the highly successful methodology established through the USGBC�s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for buildings. More information is available at www.iclei.org/usa or by emailing starcommunity@....

      �Communities from big cities to small towns are confronting the challenge of greening their design and management to become better environmental citizens,� said Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. �Through our work with local governments, we�ve identified an emerging need for tools to bring rigorous analysis and dynamic measurement of the sustainability of not only our buildings, but of our communities themselves.�

      With local governments clamoring for green status markers and an abundance of � America �s Greenest Cities� rankings, the Star program aims to deliver a highly-respected and standardized formula for gauging a community�s sustainability. The Star program will create a process, as LEED has done, to bring in leaders in the field toward the goal of establishing shared measures and processes for greening communities.

      The Star framework will represent a roadmap that guides local governments as they implement sustainability and climate actions. Similar to LEED, Star will include tiered levels with classification based on actions achieved consistent with a given level. Star will also draw on the extensive experience of ICLEI in building online tools and tracking systems to assess the progress of cities in reducing carbon emissions, and CAP�s work on policies that link economic development to environmental protection.

      The official launch of the Star program in 2008 will include an invitation to all U.S. local governments to participate in the Star program and apply Star standards to their work so that their progress and performance can be documented and recognized. The program is designed to become international in scope.

      The Star Community Index aims to:

      • Drive integrity and rigor in actions cities are taking to reduce climate impacts
      • Increase accountability in data and actions
      • Facilitate prioritized and informed decision making
      • Create roadmap for cities to track and achieve climate and sustainability goals
      • Offer globally recognized green standards system for cities
      • Enable peer-to-peer learning among communities and citizen engagement
      • Engage the public in supporting and advancing their city as a Star community

      Below is a list of metrics likely to be included in the development of the Star program, as part of the standard development process:

      Energy/Climate (e.g., presence of emissions reduction targets and plans, per capita energy intensity, total community GHG emissions, percentage of LEED buildings)

      Water (e.g., tap water quality, stream water quality, per capita water consumption, presence of water conservation ordinances)

      Transportation (e.g., annual VMT, modal split, average commute distance, average proximity to transit hubs, transit efficiency, use of alternative fuels)

      Land Use Planning (e.g., density of housing stock, encouragement of mixed-use development, proportion of modal split represented by biking and walking)

      Air Quality (e.g., concentration of criteria air pollutants, number of �bad air� days)

      Public Health (e.g., asthma hospitalizations for children, immunization rates, infant mortality and low birth-weight babies, life expectancy)

      Solid Waste (e.g., total waste diversion rate, presence of recycling program, presence of re-use centers)

      Economy and Local Community Development (e.g., percentage of children living in poverty, ratio of jobs to employed residents, housing affordability)

      Safety (e.g., number of injury-accidents by type)

      Institutionalization (e.g., presence of dedicated city staff and/or community groups promoting livability and sustainability)

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