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<< Back to: ICLEI e-News | issue 11, December 2007 - January 2008

New U.S. Star Community Index to help local governments measure, declare "green" status

28-11-07
Starting in 2008, the Start Community Index will provide local governments with a standardized framework to plan, track and claim their environmental and sustainability work.

"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 the ICLEI U.S.A. Office. "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; and
  • engage the public in supporting and advancing their city as a Star community.
 
The Star Community Index was launched at the recently-held Green Building Council's Green Build conference, and is a partnership between ICLEI the US Green Building Council, and the Center for American Progress (CAP). More information is available at www.iclei.org/usa or by emailing starcommunity@iclei.org <mailto:starcommunity@iclei.org>.
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