Evanston recertified as a 4-STAR Community for local sustainability


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Mayor Steve Hagerty speaks at an event. In a Friday speech, Hagerty equated earning a sustainability certification to winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

Adrian Wan, Reporter

Mayor Steve Hagerty announced Friday the city was recertified as a 4-STAR Community by the STAR Community Rating System for its local sustainability efforts.

Evanston became the first city nationwide to recertify its 4-STAR status that it first obtained in 2014, according to a news release. The STAR rating system — which stands for Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating — evaluates the community by its performance in areas including education, natural systems and economy and jobs.

Cities that received STAR certification were categorized into three levels based on points they accumulated for achievements in seven goal areas. After city staff worked in collaboration with dozens of community groups to gather data relevant to the year-long assessment, Evanston received a score of 511.8, which met the benchmark for a 4-STAR Community, according to the release.

Since 2005, Evanston has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 17.6 percent and local government emissions by 66 percent, which the release attributed to the mayor’s participation in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy — an international alliance of cities that strive to combat climate change — and the Mayors For 100% Clean Energy initiative.

The city is also taking efforts to bolster design consideration for elders and people with disabilities, according to the release. About 97 percent of Evanston households are located within walking distance to public transportation, thanks to the transportation demand management requirements for selected private developments and an annual reporting structure, according to the release.

Hagerty said in his State of the City Address on March 9 that the ranking reflected the city’s awareness and resolution in tackling “important” issues, such as climate change and social justice.

“If you’re unfamiliar with STAR, that’s like winning a gold medal at the Winter Olympics — in the most difficult event, let’s say the snowboarding Halfpipe – for the most sustainable city and county governments —  and we’ve done it not once but twice now,” Hagerty said. “We are the Shaun White of the STAR Community Rating System.”

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