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STAR Communities Overview

The Sustainability Tool for Assessing and Rating Communities (STAR)
is the national framework for measuring community sustainability. STAR will be used to benchmark our performance, create common and transparent metrics, and inform our first municipal sustainability plan.

Sustainability Integration Committee (SIC): Tasked with completing the STAR assessment and then building our municipal sustainability plan, this committee will seek support from iGreenCR for project implementation and will identify connections between STAR and EnvisionCR. SIC members include:

Co-chair, Steve Hershner, Utilities Director
Co-chair, Jennifer Pratt, Comm. Development Director
Sandi Fowler, Assistant City Manager
Kevin Ciabatti, Building. Services Director
Eric Holthaus, Sustainability Coordinator
Maria Johnson, Communications Manager
Casey Drew, Finance Director
Jen Winter, Public Works Director
Sven Leff, Parks and Recreation Director
Mark English, Fire Chief
Dara Schmidt, Library Director Marty Lenss, Airport Director

Goal Areas: STAR Communities comprehensively assesses environmental, social, and economic health of a community. It’s as much about "sustainability" as it is livability or quality of life. There are 49 objective areas within 8 goal areas:

1. Built Environment
2. Climate & Energy
3. Economy & Jobs
4. Education, Arts & Community
5. Equity & Empowerment
6. Health & Safety
7. Natural Systems
8. Innovation

Rating: Communities earn a 3-, 4-, or 5-star rating that lasts four years. Five communities in Iowa have completed STAR, which is the 2nd most of any state: Charles City, Davenport, Des Moines, Iowa City, and Dubuque. Only Iowa City and Dubuque are 4-star communities in STAR’s latest version. Cedar Rapids’ goal is to achieve 4 stars in this first iteration.

Why should Cedar Rapids become a STAR Community?
Create a common dataset and language around sustainability.
Integrate sustainability metrics into existing plans and organizational performance.

Additional benefits of STAR include:

  • Demonstrate commitment to local sustainability.
  • Receive national recognition for leadership and achievements.
  • Increase funding opportunities.
  • Improve transparency and community education.
  • Communicate long-term resiliency to municipal bond agencies.
  • Strengthen partnerships within government and the community.


  • May 2017 - June 2017: Communicate with internal and external stakeholders.
  • July 2017 - February 2018: Collect data; take short-term action to improve.
  • March 2018 - June 2018: Submit data for feedback and verification; receive rating.

PDF of STAR Manual

© 2018  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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