City Recognized for Sustainability Leadership
Peoria, Ariz. (February 27, 2018) – STAR Communities announced today that Peoria, AZ has been awarded a 3-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability. Peoria is the 69th city in the nation to receive recognition from STAR Communities for its participation in the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), which evaluates the livability and sustainability of U.S. communities.
“We are thrilled to be recognized as a leader in sustainability,” said Mayor Cathy Carlat. “We are committed to reducing the negative impacts, and constantly rising costs associated with accelerated growth, to assure our community develops in a thoughtful and responsible way – a way that recognizes our most important resources are carefully managed.”
STAR is the nation’s leading framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability, encompassing social, economic and environmental performance measures. STAR helps communities evaluate their strengths and weaknesses across seven areas: the built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education, arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. For instance, communities get credit for reductions in energy use or increased transportation access. STAR Communities provides support as localities benchmark progress, and a robust third-party verification process ensures accountability.
Communities pursuing STAR certification accumulate points for their achievements across the seven goal areas, which are used to determine their rating. There are three STAR certification levels: 3-STAR Community (250-449 points); 4-STAR Community (450-649 points); or 5-STAR (650+ points). Peoria received a score of 321.8, which qualifies them as a 3-STAR Community, recognized for sustainability leadership.
Several efforts stood out among Peoria sustainability initiatives:
- Climate & Energy: Peoria demonstrated a steady increase in water efficiency since 2010 to easily meet the STAR threshold. This achievement is supported by local efforts to increase efficiency, such as the adoption a higher standard of building codes in 2017, the “2015 International Plumbing Code and International Residential Code.”
- Economy & Jobs: There is a strong local economy in Peoria, demonstrated by a steady increase in the number of businesses and an increase in employment from 2013-2015. These improvements are supported by an increase in post-secondary degree attainment in the workforce.
- Education, Arts & Community: Residents of Peoria have easy access to libraries, community centers, and other community venues, as 95% of resident live within 1-mile. In addition, seniors living in Peoria are below the national average for several burdens such as poverty, using food stamps/SNAP, and high housing costs.
Peoria is one of more than 70 local governments that have participated in the yearlong leadership program with STAR Communities. Today, hundreds of communities participate in STAR. Other STAR-certified communities in the region include Phoenix, AZ; Chandler, AZ; Tucson, AZ; Riverside, CA; Henderson, NV; and Las, Vegas, NV.
“The STAR rating process gives cities a roadmap for how they can refine and improve their operations to drive continuous improvement,” said Hilari Varnadore, executive director of STAR Communities. “Peoria should be applauded for its commitment to sustainability, and for the clarity and transparency provided while achieving its goals.”
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