Eligibility and Criteria for Awards

Sustainable San Mateo County’s annual awards are highly coveted by those committed to advancing sustainability. They recognize an extraordinary commitment to the long-term health of our planet, for ourselves and future generations.

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED! Check our press release here.


We welcome nominations, including self-nominations, for our Sustainability Awards as well as the Green Building Award, which is awarded jointly by SSMC and the American Institute of Architects, San Mateo Chapter (AIASMC). The Ruth Peterson Award is presented at the discretion of SSMC’s Board of Directors. Read on to learn more about the eligibility and criteria for each award.


2022 GREEN BUILDING AWARDS Nomination Form

The Peninsula Clean Energy call for nominations for its 2022 All-Electric Leadership Awards is NOW ALSO CLOSED. Nomination Form

Sustainability Award

TransForm 2019 awardeesThe work of Sustainability Award winners must address each of the three E’s of sustainability: Environmental impacts, social Equity and Economic vitality. Available categories are:

  • Individual
  • Nonprofit
  • Business
  • Government agency
  • Education institution


  • The nominee’s work MUST have a local impact within San Mateo County. A nominee who lives or is based outside the county, and whose work has an impact inside the county, IS eligible for an award.
  • A nominee who lives or is based inside the county, and whose work has an impact ONLY outside the county, is NOT eligible for an award, unless the nominee’s work has a positive national or global implication.
  • If the nominee has received a Sustainability Award in the past, the Awards Committee will determine if enough significant improvement has been made to be eligible for a new award.


Each nomination is evaluated on how well the nominee’s actions reflect these basic sustainability criteria:

  • Mission linked to sustainability advancement and forward-looking vision
  • Key accomplishments that address the three “E’s” of sustainability: a healthy environment, social equity and a green economy in San Mateo County
  • Metrics that demonstrate sustainability progress
  • Regional as well as local in scope
  • Concerned with creating diverse and balanced communities
  • Inclusive of social equity and well-being
  • Supportive of public involvement in community decisions
  • If the nominee has a physical location, reduced environmental footprint (such as recycling and waste reduction, green building facilities, energy efficiency, water conservation and public transit/alternative transportation options and incentives)
  • Pays a living wage and benefits to all employees
  • Diverse workforce
  • Partnerships and involvement of stakeholders in decision-making
  • Healthy funding that assures continued operation
  • Recent awards or recognition

Green Building Award

Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC) and the American Institute of Architects San Mateo County Chapter (AIASMC) have jointly presented the Green Building Award every year since 2003 to projects that promote green, sustainable design and construction. The award also recognizes the architects, builders and owners of these green buildings.


The Green Building Award is open to any building constructed within the last five years that is located in San Mateo County, and have completed its final inspection by Monday, December 6, 2021. Remodels and additions are also eligible to apply for the award. Previous nominees may apply if their original projects have had additional substantial green improvements. In addition to submitting an application form, applicants must submit the following Required Submittals and are invited to submit the Optional Submittals by sending a USB drive or by calling ahead to 650-918-1992 and arranging to drop off their submittal to Sustainable San Mateo County, ATTN: Green Building Award, 2955 Campus Drive #110, San Mateo, CA 94403.

Required Submittals

  • Site plan with north arrow. Remodel projects must submit “before” and “after” photographs.
  • Floor plans
  • CD or USB drive with images (including notable features, as appropriate). NOTE: Submitted documentation will not be returned. By submitting the application, you are authorizing full rights to use the materials for any Sustainable San Mateo County promotional materials.
  • On a separate piece of paper, address how this project has incorporated the environmental performance criteria listed on the following page.

Optional Submittals

  • Energy bill (before and after, if remodel)
  • Water bill (before and after, if remodel)
  • Green building rating system results (LEED, CHIPS, Build it Green, etc.)
  • Construction and demolition diversion rate
  • Energy performance ratings
  • Percent on-site renewable energy generation
  • Amount of salvaged, recycled or sustainably harvested material used