STAR Beta Communities Gather to Define a New Sustainability Toolby Don Knapp
Details are coming into focus on the design of the forthcoming STAR Online Platform. This online sustainability performance management system will be a key to success for the STAR Community Index, the forthcoming national sustainability framework and rating system.
On March 21-22, 2011, staff from 10 leading local governments—the STAR Beta Communities*, which have agreed to help develop and road-test the platform—met in Washington, DC to share ideas and offer feedback with ICLEI and a team of software developers. The workshop, hosted by the District of Columbia Department of the Environment, marked a milestone in the STAR Online Platform development. ICLEI’s team presented concepts for how the platform could work, and local government staff brainstormed new ideas and shared their priorities and requirements for a community sustainability tool.
How the Platform Will Work
While countless details are still to be determined, the vision thus far is that the STAR Online Platform will be a web portal where local government staff can:
- Track their sustainability performance on a day-to-day basis across the broad categories within the STAR framework, and report data through a public-facing dashboard for stakeholders to view.
- Manage sustainability initiatives and goals—all in one place—through a project management module that allows municipal staff to share documents with other staff in their jurisdiction, as well as assign tasks and responsibilities, enabling cross-departmental collaboration around STAR sustainability goals.
- Gather and submit the necessary data to receive a STAR sustainability rating for their community, and benchmark their progress toward self-defined sustainability goals.
- Leverage the pre-populated data in the STAR Online Platform, to simplify the process of achieving a STAR rating.
- View a library of sustainability definitions, categories, goals, validation measures, publicly available data sets, and best practices to help local government shape their sustainability efforts and develop action plans.
Input From Leading Sustainability Professionals
Several experts joined the workshop to help inform the process. Chris Pyke, Director of Research from USGBC, provided the Beta Communities with an overview and vision for USGBC's LEED Online and new analytical tools. Rich Leadbeater from Esri gave the group an overview of GIS applications for sustainability management. And to provide some local perspective on STAR, Harriet Tregoning, the Director of Planning, and Christophe Tulou, the Director of the Department of the Environment from the District of Columbia provided a presentation on DC’s sustainability efforts and how they envision using STAR.
The next steps will be for the ICLEI software team to refine the
software requirements and designs and begin to develop the STAR Online
platform, in collaboration with the Beta Communities. We’ll keep you
updated on progress throughout 2011.
*The 10 Beta Communities include:
- Atlanta, GA
- Boulder, CO
- Austin, TX
- Cranberry Township, PA
- Chattanooga, TN
- New York, NY
- Des Moines, IA
- Washington, DC
- King County, WA
- St Louis, MO