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City of Beaverton (Oregon)

STAR Communities Reporting

Pursuing a designation from the STAR Community Rating System (the first certification program for sustainable communities), the City of Beaverton asked Brightworks to provide technical services, develop narratives, and prepare STARS submittals.

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Brightworks recently supported the City of Beaverton with its application to the STAR Community Rating System, the first national certification program for communities.

The STAR Community Rating System was established by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, the U.S. Green Building Council, the National League of Cities and the Center for American Progress.  STAR stands for Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities.

As its certification submission deadline loomed, the City reached out to Brightworks to provide additional research and documentation to strengthen its submission and demonstrate the many sustainable features of their community.

A first-time submission to a new sustainability rating system

The STAR system defines and rates community-scale sustainability to present local leaders with a vision of how their communities can become more healthy, inclusive, and prosperous across eight goal areas: The Built Environment; Climate and Energy; Economy and Jobs; Education; Arts and Community; Equity and Empowerment; Health and Safety; and Natural Systems.  These goals areas provide a valuable framework that local governments and their communities can use to define and plan their sustainability efforts.

The STAR system rates communities on a wide range of policies and metrics, from recycling rates to museum attendance to civil rights protections. Communities gain the most points for demonstrating that they have met certain outcomes – that a certain percentage of their population has access to affordable housing based on median incomes, for instance – expressed in metrics.

But communities who do not currently meet the outcomes can also gain credit for demonstrating that they have taken actions that will lead to those outcomes, in the form of studies, investments policies, and plans.  Rewarding communities for getting on the right track can keep them engaged and growing toward sustainability.

Support for the internal green team

The city began its STAR certification effort with an internal project to collect the required information. It then reached out to Brightworks for additional support to research and document outcomes and actions for a wide variety of goal areas, including technical subject matter related to the built environment.

Brightworks worked with the City to understand its timelines and priorities for the certification submittal, performed independent research, and reached out to external organizations for documentation, such as utilities, recreation organizations, and City departments. While also working within the City’s internal systems to provide regular insight into which points could be achieved, Brightworks uploaded documentation directly into STAR Community’s online system to help them speed toward their submission deadline and confidently apply for their desired rating.

Building on a track record of collaboration and excellence

Brightworks has also supported Beaverton’s participation in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  The city was the first municipality in the United States to publish a GRI v4 report.

In 2012, Beaverton won the US Conference of Mayor’s Climate Protection Award for its Solar Beaverton and greenhouse gas management programs, besting such competition as Indianapolis, IN; Charlotte, NC; Oakland, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Racine, WI; Manhattan Beach, CA; and Newton, MA.

In an article titled, “6 Small Cities That Are Surprising the World With Their Green Movements,” The Epoch Times recently lauded Beaverton for being, “the first city to buy 100 percent of its electricity from the PGE Renewable Power Program – the equivalent of avoiding more than 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide pollution.”

Beaverton has also been a front-runner in the Better Buildings Challenge, a program initiated by the Department of Energy to save money and energy with eco-friendly buildings.

At a Glance

  • Beaverton, OR