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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating Systemâ„¢ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Technical Manual

The STARS Technical Manual is the definitive guide to STARS credits and reporting criteria. The data collected for each credit is documented in the online Reporting Tool


STARS 2.1 Technical Manual cover

STARS 2.1 Technical Manual | Administrative Update One | Published May 2016

Download as a single PDF document

Current participants will have a full year from launch to either report under version 2.0 (see below) or upgrade to the new version. 

To view the changes from the Early Release Version (January 2016), see the Summary of Changes.



Supporting Materials


See table below or download a zipped file containing all credits.















Campus Engagement

Public Engagement

Air & Climate



Food & Dining






Coordination & Planning

Diversity & Affordability


Wellbeing & Work

* credit does not apply to all institutions 

STARS 2.0 

STARS 2.0 Technical ManualSTARS 2.0 Technical Manual | Administrative Update Two | Published January 2014  

Current participants will have a full year from the launch of STARS 2.1 to either report under version 2.0 or upgrade to the new version. 

Download as a single PDF document.

Version 2.0 summary page (with access to individual credits) 



Supporting Materials 

  • Credit Checklist (PDF | xls) - a quick snapshot of the credits included in STARS
  • Standards & Terms (online version | PDF) - all underlined text in the Technical Manual is defined here

Prior (Inactive) Versions

Archived versions of the Technical Manual are available, including detailed summaries of the changes made between each iteration. 

Credit Development

The current version of STARS incorporates feedback and suggestions from hundreds of diverse stakeholders and experts (see the Technical Development Policy and archived versions of the Technical Manual). 

The STARS governance structure collectively strives to ensure that each credit is objective, measurable, and actionable. STARS is designed to incorporate the full spectrum of sustainability achievement, and upper levels of achievement represent highly ambitious, long-term goals. Therefore there are some credits for which few, if any, institutions will achieve full points currently. 

Given the diversity of higher education institutions, each STARS credit should be appropriate for most institution types. In order to accommodate this diversity, some STARS credits do not include detailed specifications but are instead flexible or open. In other cases, credits include an applicability criterion, so that the credits only apply to certain types of institutions. By following this approach, institutions are not penalized when they do not earn credits that they could not possibly earn due to their circumstances.