Evanston selected for sustainability rating pilot program

Manuel Rapada, Assistant City Editor

Evanston was selected to participate in a pilot of a recently released system that assesses community sustainability and tracks environmental goals.

Evanston was one of 29 cities and counties in North America selected for a one-year test of the STAR Community Rating System, according to a news release. The system, which was released in October, develops ratings from seven goal areas, including “climate and energy” and “economy and jobs.”

“I am confident that we will continue to serve as a model for sustainability and I am delighted we have been selected as a STAR Community participating in this pilot program,” Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said in a news release.

Communities will earn points by completing objectives in each goal area. For instance, under the “built environment” goal, Evanston can earn up to five points for effectively managing ambient noise and light Participants with strong sustainability efforts can receive special designations and national recognition.

By tracking performance, local governments will be able to modify their sustainability strategy, according to the rating system report.

“Sustainable communities engage in continuous discovery, rediscovery and invention as they learn more about the impacts of their actions,” the report reads.

City officials and residents are already working on sustainability, particularly after the development of the Evanston Climate Action Plan in 2008.

The plan contains hundreds of strategies to reach the goal of reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by the end of the year, according to the news release.

“Since adopting the ECAP in 2008, our efforts have helped Evanston to become the ‘Green City’ it has set out to be, but we still have a lot more to accomplish,” Tisdahl said in the release.

The city has received several environmental accolades, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2011 Mayor’s Climate Protection Award and the 2011 Governor’s Sustainability Award, Tisdahl said.

— Manuel Rapada