King County selected for pioneering sustainability program

December 22, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 22, 2010

King County has been selected to develop a pioneering system to rate sustainability.

The county is part of a pilot program to analyze and map sustainability data. Organizers said the software program — called the STAR Community Index — is designed to transform the way local governments set priorities and implement policies to improve sustainability performance.

The familiar LEED certification for “green” buildings is a close cousin of the program.

King County joins eight other communities from coast to coast to test the tool.

“We are honored to be selected and look forward to piloting this innovative efficiency program,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “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.”

ICLEI USA – Local Governments for Sustainability announced the pilot communities Tuesday.

The nonprofit organization has more than 600 members nationwide and provides the expertise, training, tools and technical support to help local governments advance climate, energy and sustainability goals.

(Constantine serves on the organization’s board of directors.)

The announcement came as King County plans to implementation the inaugural countywide Strategic Plan. The county intends to benchmark against the emerging national model for measuring progress on 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.

The other pilot communities include Atlanta; Boulder, Colo.; Washington, D.C.; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis; New York; Cranberry Township, Pa.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

“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,” ICLEI USA Executive Director Martin Chávez said.

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