Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS)
Office of Research Programs
The term “Sustainability” refers to a set of practices leading to long-term maintenance of biological, social and/or political systems. The definition in the 2012 ESF Middle States document was “a commitment to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” At ESF, at least eight categories of externally-funded research can be regarded as “Sustainability Research.” These were utilized in identification of Sustainability Research in the Middle States Self-Study Goal 2: Research: Grow the College Research Enterprise to Foster Sustainable Societies.
- Studies on the complex inter-relationships that link human and natural ecological processes into regional, national and global ecosystems; includes air and water quality linked to environmental health.
- Forestry, fisheries/wildlife/land management practices that result in the sustainable development of natural resources; includes wetlands/mitigation invasive and endangered species management.
- Production of high yield, low environmental impact woody biomass for renewable energy and products.
- The use of renewable resources, primarily woody biomass (and algae, grasses) to produce fuels, chemicals and advanced materials that are biodegradable.
- Alternative energy, including wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and fuel cell; CHP.
- Concepts in the design of landscapes and communities that reflect the principles of sustainability; includes development of policy.
- Sustainable construction management, forest and environmental engineering and wood products engineering.
Lifecycle and economic analysis of the energy balance, CO2 emissions and environmental impact of renewable resource development; includes development of roadmaps to sustainable processes.