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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
Dec. 21, 2010

King County picked to road test national sustainable community rating system

As of 1 of 9 pilot STAR Communities nationally, King County will help refine software tools for advancing sustainable community development

ICLEI USA today announced King County as one of nine communities nationally that will help finalize and road test an innovative new sustainability rating system and performance management tool.

The STAR Community Index ™ (STAR) is a groundbreaking software tool being developed by ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability USA, in partnership with the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the National League of Cities, and the Center for American Progress.

"We are honored to be selected and look forward to piloting this innovative efficiency program," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "The Pacific Northwest and King County have a lot to gain by protecting the climate, and I am happy we are going to be using all available tools to measure how we make a difference."

Constantine said the tool will enable jurisdictions to verify progress toward sustainability goals and apply for a sustainability rating system when the full STAR Community Rating System is completed.

The timing of this software development coincides with King County's planned implementation of their first ever countywide Strategic Plan. The County will be able to benchmark against ICLEI's emerging national model for measuring progress toward economic, social, and environmental goals.

"Our participation in this program will help us identify emerging challenges, target scarce resources where they are most useful, and improve how we engage and communicate with residents and businesses," Constantine said.

Structured like the successful LEED Rating system of the USGBC, the STAR Community Rating System will standardize how jurisdictions measure and document progress toward economic, social and environmental goals. The goal statements and measures have been developed in a consensus-oriented process coordinated by ICLEI USA.

"King County's participation as a STAR Beta Community connects us with the emerging national best practice in sustainable development, improves how we compare and collaborate with other jurisdictions, and facilitates a big picture understanding of how our communities are doing across a range of program areas," said Carrie Cihak, Executive Constantine's Director of Policy and Strategy.

Martin Chávez, Executive Director of ICLEI USA, said King County and other STAR Beta Communities will receive technical support and resources to position them to become early adopters of STAR and accelerate their various sustainability efforts.

"These nine early-adopter cities, along with many other communities across the nation, are already taking the lead on energy efficiency and sustainable development in their own right and as such, they are the perfect candidates to advance the goals and mission of STAR, which is to build healthier, inclusive and more livable communities," he said.

More information on the STAR Beta Communities and STAR online platform can be found at: