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Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2014)- Today, the District of Columbia was awarded a 4-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability. The District is among 20 U.S. communities certified to date under the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR). This is a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties that helps communities evaluate themselves across seven areas related to sustainability such as built environment, economy, health, and natural systems.

“This 4-STAR rating shows the progress we are making on our Sustainable DC Plan and how we fare compared to other cities – many of them larger than us,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The District consistently scores high on a host of city rankings for sustainability and quality of life. But none are as comprehensive as STAR, helping us understand where we are doing well and where we need to dedicate resources to become a truly sustainable city.”

“Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community,” said Hilari Varnadore, Executive Director of STAR Communities. “Washington, D.C. is an excellent example of a city with a strong commitment to sustainability, and for clarity and transparency provided while achieving its goals.” More than 80 communities across North America are actively using the STAR Community Rating System, with more than 30 currently pursuing certification.

The District far exceeded the 400 points necessary to achieve the 4-STAR rating, earning 534 points out of a possible 720. The District excelled in the areas of the Built Environment, Economy and Jobs, Education, Arts, and Community. Notable achievements within the assessment include:

  • Parks and public spaces: Nearly 100% of the District’s residents live within a 1/2 mile walk from a park or public space.
  • Water infrastructure: The District is the first city in the nation to offer a stormwater credit retention trading system.
  • Jobs and the economy: The District is experiencing high employment rates and many new businesses are incorporating there.
  • Education: High school graduation rates are increasing among underperforming groups including African Americans, Asians, and Latinos as well as those enrolled in special education.

Washington, D.C.’s government will be analyzing the STAR results, with an emphasis on areas where the city must improve. Using Sustainable DC as a foundation, and in partnership with community partners and residents, the District will continue to pursue strategies and programs to address these areas of concern. The District’s 4-STAR Community Rating is effective for three years, at which point the city will be re-evaluated.

The District’s government and several District-based organizations were fundamental in the formation and development of STAR. It took more than four years of analysis and planning by STAR staff and hundreds of volunteer experts to develop the nation’s first robust rating system for citywide sustainability. The U.S. Green Building Council and the National League of Cities – both based in the District – were key partners in development. The Summit Foundation, also District-based, was an early and principal funder of the development process for this national platform to advance urban sustainability.

To learn more about the STAR Community Rating System, visit the STAR website at www.STARcommunities.org. To learn more about Sustainable DC, visit www.sustainabledc.org.


STAR Communities advances a national framework for sustainable communities through the delivery of standards and tools built by and for local governments and the communities they serve. The organization administers the STAR Community Rating System, the nation’s first framework and certification program for local sustainability. For more information, visitwww.STARcommunities.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @STARCommRating.

Contact: Lacey Shaver, Outreach Coordinator, STAR Communities


855-890-7827, ext. 105

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