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City of Seattle, King County selected as pilot STAR communities


The work of the City of Seattle and King County to make their operations more sustainable and help residents reduce their environmental impact has caught the attention of STAR Community Rating System.


The work of the City of Seattle and King County to make their operations more sustainable and help residents reduce their environmental impact has caught the attention of STAR Community Rating System.

“We constantly strive to create sustainable, livable communities in our region, which is why we are excited to participate in a national pilot program to develop a standard by which all local governments can track their performance,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Thanks in large part to their demonstrated environmental leadership, both Seattle and King County have received invitations to participate in the STAR Community Pilot Program. The program will engage more than 30 leadership cities and counties from across North America in a year-long evaluation of the STAR Community Rating System.

“The City of Seattle has aggressive goals in a number of STAR’s goal areas, and regularly monitors progress toward meeting them,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment. “We look forward to exploring STAR’s framework to highlight our good work.” Local community leaders will use the STAR Community Rating System to assess how sustainable they already are, set goals for moving ahead, and measure progress along the way.

As a regional government, King County contributes toward sustainable community conditions in partnership with its 39 cities, 100-plus special purpose districts, and innumerable civic organizations. For the last three years, King County has participated as one of 10 Beta communities that have been the local government voice to shape the structure and content of this rating system framework.
The City of Seattle also has ambitious goals for climate protection, energy, food, transportation, urban forestry, and related topics that align closely to the goals and objectives of the STAR Community Rating System. 
King County and City of Seattle are the only “overlapping” jurisdictions participating, and will lead the effort to determine how cross-jurisdictional participation can best work.

STAR Pilot Communities will be the first to receive a rating based on their responses using a Technical Guide, Online Reporting Tool, and associated products and services designed to help local communities to measure sustainability attributes of their community in a manner that is standardized to facilitate benchmarking.

Released in October, the STAR Community Rating System is the nation’s first voluntary, self-reporting framework for evaluating the sustainability of U.S. communities. STAR uniquely combines:

• A framework for sustainability that includes social, economic and environmental qualities of a community;
• A rating system that drives continuous improvement and fosters competition; and
• An online system that gathers, organizes, analyzes and presents information needed to meet sustainability goals.

The STAR Community Rating System was developed through a multi-year, consensus-based process led by committee members. Technical Advisory Committees of experts from across the country determined scientifically valid, cost‐effective ways of evaluating local government progress. A Steering Committee provided oversight and guidance. The result is a robust and comprehensive system that is flexible enough to serve both large and small towns – and their local leaders – as they advance their journey toward sustainability.

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Logan Harris, King County, 206-263-6550;
Sandra Pinto de Bader, City of Seattle, 206-684-3194;
Lacey Shaver, STAR Communities, 662-801-1688

About STAR Communities:
STAR Communities advances a national framework for sustainable communities through standards and tools built by and for local governments and the communities they serve. In 2007, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Center for American Progress launched the STAR Community Rating System at GREENBUILD in Chicago. By 2008, they had established a formal partnership that included the National League of Cities, to develop STAR Communities. This year, the partner organizations incorporated STAR Communities in the District of Columbia.