AASHE defines sustainability in a pluralistic and inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations. STARS attempts to translate this broad view of sustainability to measurable objectives at the campus level. Thus, it includes indicators related to an institution’s environmental, social, and economic performance. Learn more.

Technical Manual

The STARS Technical Manual is the definitive guide to STARS and provides detailed information about reporting requirements and credits. It is freely available as a standalone reference document, as well as online in the STARS Reporting Tool.

STARS Liaison

An institution’s STARS Liaison is its primary point of contact in regard to STARS and the person who will receive notifications at critical stages in the reporting process. Each participating institution is asked to name a liaison and may update that information at any time.

Reporting Tool

Program participants enter information into the STARS Reporting Tool, a secure online management system for storing and sharing your institution’s sustainability data.


STARS participants can submit the information they have saved in the online Reporting Tool to AASHE in the form of a STARS report. Each submitted report is published on the STARS website and is the mechanism by which an institution can earn a STARS Rating.

Categories and Subcategories

STARS is organized into four main categories – Academics (AC), Engagement (EN), Operations (OP) and Planning & Administration (PA) – and an optional “bonus” category: Innovation & Leadership (IN). Each category contains two or more subcategories or “impact areas”, which define specific sustainability impact areas. For example, the Academics category contains the Curriculum and Research subcategories.


Credits are the heart of STARS. Each subcategory includes two or more credits. For example, the Energy subcategory includes a credit that addresses improved energy efficiency (Building Energy Consumption) and a credit that addresses energy sourcing (Clean and Renewable Energy). The text of each credit (available in PDF format, as well as online in the Reporting Tool) defines the specific reporting and performance requirements that must be met to earn points and also provides definitions, measurement guidance, and examples.