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Built by and for local governments, the STAR Community Rating System (STAR) can be used as a standalone framework or as a management tool and certification program. Anyone can use STAR as a handbook and resource for community-wide sustainability, while local governments can use STAR to benchmark and track local performance through certification or annual reporting on key sustainability indicators.

Set Goals

STAR’s framework of goals, objectives, and evaluation measures provides a roadmap to evaluate, assess, and improve communities’ economic, environmental, and social performance and become healthier, stronger, and more resilient. To get started, download the rating system for free from our website and sign up for our mailing list on the bottom of our homepage to stay abreast of current STAR news.

The STAR Community Rating System provides best practices intended to move the needle on community-level conditions or outcomes. Learn more about how STAR Certified Communities are affecting positive change in their cities and counties through our publications and case studies.

STAR Communities also holds regular education and training programs both online and at events across the country; see our Events page for upcoming events and webinars, or view past public webinars online.

Local governments can sign up for a free Basic Access package to receive additional tools and resources to help align plans with STAR, integrate its standardized metrics, and put into action the system’s vetted best practices. Other community partners, organizations, universities, consultants and federal agencies can become STAR Affiliates to support STAR Communities’ mission.

Measure Progress

For local governments that are ready to start measuring progress, STAR Communities offers two ways to credibly and transparently benchmark your community’s sustainability performance against the national standards and best practices in the STAR Community Rating System. You can:

  1. Report annually on the Leading STAR Community Indicators; and/or
  2. Perform a robust community-wide baseline sustainability assessment through STAR certification.

The Leading STAR Community Indicators include 21 metrics pulled directly from the proven STAR Community Rating System. Developed in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Leading Indicators are organized into an online platform where U.S. cities and counties can annually report key sustainability metrics. Communities of all sizes and experience can use the Leading Indicators to benchmark annual performance and compare their progress with participating communities.

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The STAR certification program provides communities with a data-driven, independently verified assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Improvement is measured through re-certification every 4 years. Communities report that STAR-certification is transformative, serving as a springboard for civic engagement, cross-agency coordination, integrated budgeting and performance management and more.

The STAR Full Access Package contains all the tools and resources that a local government needs to pursue STAR certification and report annually on the Leading STAR Community Indicators. Learn more under Sign Up for Tools & Resources.

Improve Your Community

Certification is only the beginning of a community’s STAR journey.  Certified STAR Communities are using their certification results to:

  • Celebrate progress with community partners and residents
  • Engage employees and increase buy-in for sustainability work
  • Brand local sustainability efforts and attract economic development activity
  • Identify gaps and prioritize next steps
  • Direct resources efficiently and effectively to the greatest areas of need
  • Strengthen local plans, policies, and programs
  • Integrate performance metrics into city and county budgeting
  • Implement solutions and catalyze local action

STAR Communities can also help you to use your STAR Community Rating® to promote and enhance local sustainability efforts through marketing, implementation, and eventually, re-certification. STAR offers a variety of post-certification services, including customized reports and in-person community workshops to bring together key staff and local partners to begin implementation of priority projects based on STAR analysis.

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