The City of Denton has been awarded the 3-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability. The City received this recognition from STAR Communities for its participation in the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), the nation’s leading framework and certification program for local sustainability and livability among U.S. communities.
“Denton should be very proud of this achievement,” said Katherine Barnett, Sustainability and Special Project Administrator for the City of Denton. “The 3-STAR rating is a reflection of everyone in the community working together, taking steps to make Denton a better and more sustainable place to live, work, and play.”
Highlights that led to Denton’s 3-STAR rating include:
- Reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent since 2006.
- Increasing the supply of renewable energy for Denton Municipal Electric customers. Right now, DME customers receives more than 45 percent of its energy from renewable sources and has a goal of 70 percent by 2019 and 100 percent by 2030.
- Developing a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure linkage plan.
- Providing free in-home energy and water audits to residents and small businesses to help identify opportunities to conserve and save money on their utility bills.
- Creating programs aimed at increasing tree canopy through the Denton Tree Initiative – a campaign from the City of Denton and Keep Denton Beautiful to plant 12,000 new trees on public and private land in the city.
- Providing quality recycling programs and waste minimization education to residents.
- Partnering with groups to inventory and monitor natural water bodies for biological, chemical, and hydrological integrity.
- Increasing the amount of locally sourced fresh food sold at the Denton Community Market.
- Increasing the employment rate, while decreasing the unemployment rate of residents over time.
Denton participated in a year-long leadership program with STAR Communities prior to submitting for certification. Other STAR certified communities are Texas include Austin, Houston, Plano, and San Antonio.
STAR is the nation’s leading framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability, encompassing social, economic and environmental performance measures. STAR helps communities evaluate their strengths and weaknesses across seven areas: the built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education, arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. For instance, communities get credit for reductions in energy use or increased transportation access. STAR Communities provides support as localities benchmark progress, and a robust third-party verification process ensures accountability.
“The STAR rating process gives cities a roadmap for how they can refine and improve their operations to drive continuous improvement,” said Hilari Varnadore, executive director of STAR Communities. “Denton should be applauded for its commitment to sustainability, and for the clarity and transparency provided while achieving its goals.”