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.
Credit Checklist - a quick snapshot of the credits included in the current version of STARS
Technical Manual - the definitive guide to STARS credits and criteria
STARS 2.1 Technical Manual | Administrative Update One | Published May 2016
Download as a single PDF document or access individual credits below.
Current participants have until May 19, 2017 to either report under version 2.0 (see below) or upgrade to the new version.
- Exemplary Practice credits are new for STARS 2.1. They are optional and earn "bonus points" that are added to an institution's overall STARS score.
- How to share credits with data providers (knowledge base article)
- Data Tracking Sheets - optional spreadsheets that can be shared with data providers. These files are made available for those institutions that like to supplement the online Tool with standalone spreadsheets for data collection and tracking purposes. Data must be entered into the online Reporting Tool independently.
- Data Accuracy Policy - includes a new pre-publication review and revision process
- To view the changes from the Early Release Version of the 2.1 Technical Manual (January 2016), see the Summary of Changes. To review the changes from version 2.0 see the Summary of Substantive Changes and the Tracked Changes Draft.
See table below or download a zipped file containing all credits. There are several different ways to share credits with data providers and de-centralize the reporting process (see our knowledge base article).
- Institutional Characteristics (required)
- Innovation & Leadership (optional)
- Exemplary Practice Credit Catalog (optional)
* credit does not apply to all institutions
STARS 2.0 Technical Manual | Administrative Update Two | Published January 2014
Current participants have until May 19, 2017 to report under version 2.0.
- Institutional Characteristics - required information about the context in which an institution operates
- Standards & Terms (online version | PDF) - all underlined text in the Technical Manual is defined here
- Credits. See the table on the version 2.0 summary page or download a zipped file containing all credits.
Prior (Inactive) Versions
Archived versions of the Technical Manual are available, including detailed summaries of the changes made between each iteration.
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.