Earning a 4-STAR Rating, plus LEED Communities Certification!
Broward County has proven, once again, it is one of the most beautiful, progressive, economically competitive and environmentally sustainable communities in the nation.
On March 12, 2019 Broward County was recognized nationally for excellence in sustainability, receiving a final score of 538 points in the STAR Community Rating System and earning the 4-STAR Community Rating. Broward is proud to have increased its score by more than 100 points since the initial STAR rating in 2014. Participating in a national sustainability assessment demonstrates Broward's commitment to local sustainability and emphasis on data-driven processes to measure performance.
As of June 2018, all STAR Communities projects have been fully integrated into the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Cities and Communities program. Thus, Broward County is now officially also a certified LEED Community.
Who was involved?
A community-wide assessment for a County of 1.9 million residents is no small effort, and the team of data collectors who accomplished the Broward County 4-STAR Recertification are technical experts from a broad range of local governmental agencies and non-profit organizations across Broward. Broward County’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division lead the community-wide data collection effort, partnering with more than 30 different county departments and community partners.
Broward County Divisions taking leadership roles in the 2019 recertification include: Environmental Planning and Community Resilience, Planning and Development Management, Economic & Small Business Development, Human Services, Environmental and Consumer Protection, Parks and Recreation, Solid Waste and Recycling Services, Human Resources, Cultural, Historic Preservation, Emergency Management, Housing Finance and Community Development, Water & Wastewater Services, Environmental Engineering & Permitting.
These Community Partners were equally important in the data collection effort: Children's Services Council of Broward County, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, CareerSource Broward, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Integrous Health Solutions, FHEED, Inc., Florida Department of Health in Broward County, Broward Sheriff's Office, Southeast Florida Clean Cities Coalition, Broward County Public Schools, Broward MPO, Broward B-Cycle, and the South Florida Water Management District.
In addition, these 17 Cities participated in the STAR Muni Survey: Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise, Weston, and Wilton Manors.
What was included in the assessment?
Under the STAR rating system, Broward reported over 500 initiatives throughout the community.
These initiatives benefitted the community by improving everything from how safe residents feel, how successful schools are, and how fast emergency response times are, to things like workforce readiness, housing affordability, and civic engagement. STAR has broadened how sustainability is viewed in Broward – expanded to capture all aspects of community well-being, economy, and environment.
Broward County recertified under Version 2.0 of the STAR Community Rating System, a framework of 8 sustainability goals, 49 objectives and hundreds of evaluation measures encompassing economic, environmental, and social sustainability. With the availability of new points and an expanded partner list, Broward increased its score across several goal areas.
The two biggest point jumps were in Innovation and Progress (IP) and Health and Safety (HS) Goal Areas. Also noteworthy were Education, Arts & Community (EAC) and Natural Systems (NS), which each received 29% more points in 2019 than in the initial rating effort. In total, Broward gained more than 100 points in the latest assessment, jumping from earning 61% of all possible points in 2014, to achieving 72% of points in the rating system in 2019.
Deep Dive into the Data
In the Built Environment Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvement in measures related to Public Parkland, Housing Affordability, and Ambient Noise & Light. Example programs featured in the assessment include the Volunteers Improving Parks Program, "Housing Broward: An Inclusive Plan," and Broward’s Light Pollution Monitoring Program. Overall, this goal area showed a slight decrease (-7%) in performance from 2014 to 2019.
In the Climate & Energy Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvement in measures related to Greening the Energy Supply, Water Efficiency, and Climate Adaptation. Example programs featured in the assessment include Broward’s GoSolar Program and Solsmart Designation, the NatureScape and Conservation Pays Programs, and the leadership role in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. Overall, this goal area showed a slight decrease (-11%) in performance from 2014 to 2019.
In the Economy & Jobs Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvements in measures related to Quality Jobs & Living Wages, Targeted Industry Development, and Green Market Development. Example programs featured in the assessment include Broward’s Living Wage and Local Hiring Preference Ordinances, and partnerships like Six Pillars Broward, the Southeast Florida Clean Cities Coalition and the Regional Economic Resilience Collaboration. Overall, Broward was able to demonstrate a moderate increase (+16%) in performance in this goal area from 2014 to 2019.
In the Education, Arts & Community Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvements in measures related to Historic Preservation, Arts & Culture, and Community Cohesion. Example programs featured in the assessment included the County’s Historic Preservation Grant, Public Art and Design (PAD) ordinance, Cultural Tourism Program Grants, Hands On Broward, and Children's Services Council. Aging in the Community was a new Objective released with STAR version 2.0. Overall, Broward demonstrated significant increases in performance (+29%) in this goal area from 2014 to 2019.
In the Equity & Empowerment Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvements in measures related to Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement. Example programs featured in the assessment include the Junior Sustainability Stewards Program, BMSD Internal Committee, Central County Community Advisory Board, High School Voter Registration Program, The Broward County Academy, and the multi-agency Racial Equity Training initiative. Overall, this goal area showed a slight increase (+4%) in performance from 2014 to 2019.
In the Health & Safety Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvements in measures related to Hazard Mitigation, Active Living, Safe Communities and Food Access & Nutrition. When the rating system updated to version 2, substantive changes were made to the Community Health and Health Systems categories, making multi-year comparisons unsuitable for these two objectives. Example programs featured in the assessment include Broward County’s Enhanced Local Mitigation Strategy, Adaptation Action Area and Complete Streets policies, Bronze Rating as a Bicycle Friendly Community, Broward County School Wellness Policy, and the Transforming Our Community’s Health (TOUCH) partnership. Overall, Broward showed the most significance in this goal area, demonstrating a forty-five percent (+45%) increase in performance from 2014 to 2019.
In the Natural Systems Goal Area, Broward proved significant improvements in measures related to Working Lands, Biodiversity & Invasive Species, Green Infrastructure and Outdoor Air Quality. Example programs featured in the assessment include the Green Infrastructure Map Series, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension – Agriculture, Sea Turtle Conservation Program, Habitat Stewards Program, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Code, Keep It Green Monitoring Program, Air Outreach Program, and Tree Preservation Trust Fund. Overall, significant increases in performance (+29%) in this goal area were made from 2014 to 2019.
Broward reported in the Innovation & Process Goal Area for the first time in 2019.
In Best Practices & Processes, Broward achieved 100% of possible points. Programs and tools highlighted include: Priority Planning Areas for Sea Level Rise Map and Future Conditions Average Wet Season Groundwater Elevation Map in the Broward County Land Use Plan, the King Tide Citizen Science Initiative, Sustainability Stewards of Broward peer-exchange, and the Environmental Partnership Agreement between Broward County’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division and Broward Schools.
In Exemplary Performance, Broward achieved 100% of possible points. This Objective rewards performance in Community-Level Outcome measures or Local Action measures that significantly exceed the evaluation criteria established by the existing STAR Community Rating System. In Climate & Energy CE-4: Energy Efficiency, the new tree canopy study documented that 99% of the community lives within 1/3-mile from tree canopy. In Education, Arts, & Community EAC-2: Community Cohesion, Broward demonstrated that 96% of the community lives within 1 mile from schools, community centers, cultural facilities, free parks, libraries and colleges. In Natural Systems NS-4: Outdoor Air Quality, a total cancer risk from hazardous pollutants of 32.9 per million (significantly less than the best practice standard of 50 per million) was documented. Finally, in Natural Systems NS-1: Green Infrastructure, a total impervious area of 29.8% was noted, highlighting the significant water storage and treatment services the protected conservation Everglades land provides to the community.
In Good Governance, Broward achieved 100% of possible points. Criteria considered includes the County’s AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s and designation of a County-level Chief Climate Resilience Officer.
In Local Innovation, Broward achieved 25% of possible points. Programs and partnerships highlighted include the Food Access and Recovery Workgroup through the Corporate Sustainability Network, and the multijurisdictional Complete Streets Advisory Committee.
To see how Broward scored in each of the 49 Objectives, go to Broward's page on STAR Communities