Previous Award Winners | Sustainable San Mateo County

Previous Award Winners

Eleanor/Jackie_Awards Open Space SM Library Hyrbids

Sustainable San Mateo County has honored more than 100 sustainable and green building award winners since our Awards Program began in 1999. Every year, SSMC receives dozens of deserving nominations that remind us of the myriad of people working to make our region more sustainable. Sustainable San Mateo County, RecycleWorks, and the San Mateo County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects sponsor the Green Building Award to support sustainable design in architecture and to recognize the designers, builders, and owners of green buildings in San Mateo County. These winners truly represent the best of the best!


Ruth Peterson Award: Bill Schulte, SSMC Chair Emeritus

Sustainability Awards:

  • TransForm
  • Lime
  • Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame (CEC)

Green Building Award:

Our 2019 Green Building Award recipient is the Half Moon Bay Library, which targets LEED Gold certification and zero net energy by minimizing its energy consumption and generating energy on site. Opened in August 2018, the two-story, 22,000-square-foot building was built through a partnership comprised of the City of Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County Libraries and the County of San Mateo.
The building was designed by Noll & Tam Architects of Berkeley and constructed by BHM Construction, Inc. of Napa. It features natural light and ventilation, lights and shades that are automatically controlled by sensors, radiant heating and cooling, flexible community spaces, a stormwater management system with bioswales, drought-tolerant landscaping and electric vehicle charging stations. All power needs of the building are planned to be provided by solar panels.


Ruth Peterson Award: State Senator Jerry Hill

This prestigious Award, established in memory of SSMC’s founder Ruth Peterson, was presented to State Senator Jerry Hill in recognition of his leadership on sustainability issues throughout his nearly 30 years of public service.

Sustainability Awards:

Joseph Fullerton

Joe is the Energy and Sustainability Manager for the San Mateo County Community College District. He got the Award for contributing to the district’s sustainability initiatives and helping to create state and national sustainability programs.

Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is San Mateo County’s community choice energy program. It received the Award for offsetting 680 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions while offering county customers lower electric rates, saving them $17 million during its first year of operation.


Proterra won the Award for designing and manufacturing zero-emission, heavy-duty buses that deliver clean, quiet transportation.

Youth United for Community Action (YUCA)

YUCA received the Sustainability Award for developing and supporting a core group of young people in East Palo Alto who address social and environmental justice issues.

Green Building Award:

Design Tech High School

The Green Building Award was presented to the Design Tech High School for its sustainable design targeted to achieve LEED Gold certification. It was designed by DES Architects + Engineers and built by XL Construction.


Ruth Peterson Award:

Beth Bhatnagar

Beth Bhatnagar is a founding member of Sustainable San Mateo County, and served on the board of directors for over 10 years, including as Secretary for much of that time. As a friend of founders Marcia Pagels and Ruth Peterson, she was involved with the organization right from the start. A reliable leader on the board and legal advisor, Beth made significant financial and in-kind contributions to SSMC over the years and actively participates in our programs.

Beth studied languages and linguistics at Duke; there she met her husband, Raj, whom she married in New Delhi in 1966. She continued her studies at Northwestern University, earning an MA in linguistics studying the transition from ancient Indo-European languages to modern Indian languages while simultaneously having the first of her two sons. She later studied early childhood education at San Francisco State, and law at San Mateo Law School. She speaks Hindi, French, and Russian.

As a “doer” and volunteer, Beth has contributed to many local nonprofits and community activities. She founded A Legal Help Committee for indigent people and seniors and convinced many of her lawyer colleagues to provide free legal services. She currently serves on the board of the Burlingame Music Club and her neighborhood association, and is a trained CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) member and organizer of the emergency response team. She has long been and remains a very active board member of the League of Women Voters, and has served as President of the local chapter. In 1995, Beth and 8-9 league members from around the US were selected by US State Department to travel to Russia to interact with Soviet Block women’s groups to conduct workshops on democracy and the importance of grassroots action. Following this, her family hosted some of these women in return visits. Beth served as SSMC’s liaison to the League of Women Voters for several years during which the two organizations co-sponsored a very successful video meeting on Pen TV in 2000 about the electricity crisis.

Sustainability Awards:

Pacifica Beach Coalition and President Lynn Adams

Pacifica Beach Coalition (PBC) is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the ocean, coastal habitat and wildlife, and ending litter. PBC began cleaning up one beach in Pacifica and now conducts cleanups at nine San Mateo County beaches, from Daly City to Tunitas Creek. Lynn Adams became a site captain in 2001, and was pro-active and creative from the start. Becoming PBC president in 2007, her enthusiasm, energy and leadership have been at the heart of PBC’s success, expansion, and continued improvement. For example, in 2016 volunteers collected 169,000 cigarette butts. PBC operates with trained site captains who oversee each clean-up day, instruct volunteers, and collect data. Beyond the beaches, PBC has education programs for students and for the general public, and its website,, has a wealth of information available to all. The results are visible improvements to our beaches, improved coastal habitat, and a model of organizing community events that others can follow.

San Mateo County Parks Department

Public parks serve as community recreation and gathering spaces, protect environmental resources and habitats, contribute to the vibrancy and quality of life of the region, and are available to all members of the community. While this alone might be deserving of recognition, the San Mateo County Parks Department has gone much further by making sustainability a core value: incorporating environment (planning and preservation), economic vitality (value of parks to the local economy) and social equity (use of parks by those with limited access). For each park, they have examined transportation / access, conservation of water and energy, general stewardship, cost-saving opportunities, and much more. Improvements to address sea level rise (Coyote Point), adaptation of a former portion of Highway 1 to create a walking / biking trail (Devil’s Slide), and use of fallen redwood trees to make park furniture (Memorial Park) are specific improvements now underway or completed. Under a recent grant, the Department operates a free week-end shuttle bus from East Palo Alto, where car ownership is low, to certain parks. The Department is also actively working to expand “urban mini-parks” within Unincorporated San Mateo County to provide additional opportunities for local residents and visitors to enjoy parks closer to home.

Sunwork Renewable Energy Projects

SunWork has created an innovative business model that expands access to the solar energy market. It fills a gap by offering solar installations for nonprofits and for homeowners with low electric bills. These are clients who would not find affordable solar services from traditional installers due to their low energy usage. In San Mateo County, SunWork has installed solar systems for Rebuilding Together Peninsula, Ecumenical Hunger Program, Wildlife Associates, and Catholic Worker House. Among homeowners, SunWork is most economical for those with electric bills less than $100 per month. All installations are done by paid staff and trained volunteers, saving 1/3 in installation cost. Since 2009, SunWork has installed more than 1,900 kilowatts of solar energy.

Honorable Mention: San Bruno Park School District

The six pre-K-8 schools in San Bruno Park School District operate with a limited budget and resources, yet they engage students in activities that teach about caring for the environment, healthy eating, recycling, and composting in a variety of ways, depending on students’ learning levels. The schools collaborate with Recology San Bruno in composting and recycling activities, and Green Teams of older students practice what they’ve learned by helping to educate the younger children. The curriculum has continued to expand, sometimes including more sophisticated topics, such as impact on ocean environments. With 40% Hispanic students, there are many parents who are also English learners, so several of the programs are designed to include these families. This engages more families and reinforces what the children learn at school.

Green Building Awards:

Gilead 309 Velocity • Architect: DES Architects + Engineers; Builder: DPR Construction; Owner: Gilead Sciences

The Gilead 309 Velocity project addresses two of the most pressing Bay Area issues – traffic congestion and drought conditions – with a number of sustainable design strategies:

  • vertical structures that provide more open space and efficient use of the site
  • a highly-effective transit demand management (TDM) plan
  • a commuter bus program to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips
  • 50% reduction in water demand for landscaping with a fully-automated drip system
  • on-site stormwater management with extensive treatment measures.

Instead of impervious surface parking, the campus design of the Gilead 309 Velocity project adopts a more sustainable strategy including a parking structure and stormwater retention and treatment systems. This strategy also created more opportunity for landscaping and outdoor public spaces. The site treats 100% of its on-site stormwater, reducing runoff pollutants by approximately 90%. The project uses smart irrigation controller with weather and leak detection sensors.
Gilead’s partnership with Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance included four stops on the campus and increase usage. In addition, Gilead launched a new commuter bus program to bring over 800 employees to and from the entire campus.


Ruth Peterson Award: David and Nancy Crabbe

David and Nancy Crabbe of San Carlos have been active with SSMC since its inception. David was one of the original seven founding members of SSMC along with Marcia Pagels, who conceived the idea. He served on the original steering committee, helped to define what sustainability meant for our county, wrote articles for our early newsletters, researched and edited indicators, and helped with a series of local issues forums for the public. It was at the Crabbes’ home that the idea for Sustainability Awards was born. David has been Chair of the Indicators Committee for 15 years and presently serves on the Programs and Communications Committees as well. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors on two different occasions, including the first years after incorporation. A licensed architect, David promoted the first Green Building Awards program and has dedicated his professional career to the design of affordable housing, including Habitat for Humanity and HIP Housing. He is currently a member of the Sierra Club’s Sustainable Land Use Committee. When working as a librarian, Nancy volunteered with SSMC when her schedule permitted. After retiring, she extended her time to help with a variety of activities, primarily on the Awards Committee. She was Chair of the Awards event for several years and remains essential to the program today. Her special talent is to think broadly and clearly about the organization and involve others in decisions. Besides SSMC, Nancy is an area group leader for a national health-related foundation. The Crabbes have also made generous and sustained financial contributions to SSMC.

Sustainability Awards

Julia Bott, San Mateo

Julia Bott, both professionally and as a volunteer, has promoted the quality of life locally and globally; and our community is notably better because of her work. Recently retired after 17 years as founding Executive Director of the San Mateo County Parks Foundation, Julia’s successes stem from her inclusive and clever fundraising, team building, professional expertise and determined spirit. Highlights of her contributions include spearheading the building of the Bill and Jean Lane Educational Center at Edgewood Park and improvements to the Coyote Point Recreation Area, Captain’s House, County trails and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve interpretative developments. A Sierra Club Chapter Director and Legislative Committee Chair, she received the Sierra Club Founders’ Award. Understanding the value of training future county leaders, she has also been Co-Chair of San Mateo / Foster City / Burlingame / Hillsborough’s Leadership Program’s Curriculum Committee and Environment Day. She knows, too, that personally setting an example is essential for a community-based life.
(Watch Video)

Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park

Kepler’s Books was established in 1955 by peace activist Roy Kepler and became a renowned institution as a bookstore, a community gathering space, and the intellectual and cultural hub for our community. Kepler’s survived a highly competitive market and economic downturn thanks to a team of “community champions” stepping up to forge a new independent bookstore model. The resulting program, Kepler’s 2020, is shared in open-source fashion for bookstores around the world and has been called a “prototype of the future” by Publishers Weekly. The bookstore operates in tandem with a new non-profit, Peninsula Arts & Letters, which offers lectures, panel discussions, on-stage interviews, and educational workshops with a goal of supporting lifelong learning and literacy. In 2015, over 30,000 people attended 200+ literary events, and 10,000 young students in under-served schools in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto participated in new programs and received book donations.
(Watch Video)

San Mateo County Resource Conservation District

The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District (SMCRCD) is honored for its work providing hands-on and practical solutions to farmers, ranchers and landowners to make improvements that benefit soil, air, water, wildlife, fisheries, and reduce greenhouse gases. Founded in 1939, the SMCRCD was the first Resource Conservation District in California and was District of the Year in 2012. Leveraging its tax base to secure grants and partnership resources, the RCD provides services that are free and non-regulatory, enabling them to become trusted advisors to further the voluntary stewardship of both public and private lands. Their conservation measures make business sense, and are designed to build economic strength and improve environmental quality in communities that often face economic challenges. Protecting water quality, enhancing recovery of endangered species, restoring habitats and ecosystem function, reducing dependence on energy and water resources, and building resilience to climate change are just some of the ways the RCD provides comprehensive, total resource protection.
(Watch Video)

Green Building Awards

Half Moon Village

Owner: MidPen Housing • Architect: Herman Coliver Locus Architecture • Builder: Segue Construction, Inc.

Half Moon Village in Half Moon Bay is part of a Senior Campus that represents a collective vision to build an integrated, services-enriched, affordable housing campus for low-income seniors. The campus vision is to create an innovative community where social and health services are delivered onsite or in very close proximity to senior housing while creating a cost-effective and sustainable model for helping seniors successfully live their lives. The Senior Campus includes: Half Moon Village- senior housing; Coastside Senior Housing; Coastside Adult Day Health Center, a new senior center; and Lesley Gardens – affordable senior rental homes, as well as proximity to many amenities and community services including a public library, supermarket, pharmacy, walking and bicycle pathways and two Sam Trans bus lines. The project has received a green point rating of 181, putting the project in the platinum category. Key features include water efficient fixtures, drought tolerant landscaping, high efficiency mechanical systems and use of indoor materials that support a healthy living environment. Energy STAR appliances, solar hot water and upgrades to the wall, floor and ceiling insulation all contribute to energy conservation, and the integrated campus plan has good solar site orientation. From planning to implementation the Half Moon Village project is an excellent example of sustainable design.
(Watch Video)

Woodside Priory School Benedictine Classrooms

Owner: Woodside Priory School • Architect: Goring & Straja Architects • Builder: W.L. Butler Construction, Inc.

Woodside Priory’s vision was to create a new classroom facility and community gathering space while being a steward for the environment and future generations. The building is well sited in the context of the existing campus and hillside topography. The architecture is warm and attractive, blending well with the adjacent student center. The existing faculty building in the square was demolished, and the exterior siding was salvaged and re-used on the new faculty building as a tribute to the history of the campus. The warm natural building materials and newly planted native trees create a welcoming environment. Over 98% of demolition debris was diverted, along with 78% construction debris, much higher than the local requirements. The energy efficient mechanical system utilizes 100% outside air and energy recovery ventilators, resulting in energy use that is 48.8% better than Title 24 requirements. Point of use water heaters at sinks avoid the need for a recirculating hot water system. The design utilizes daylighting,sensors, and high efficiency lights. The roof is covered with photo-voltaic cells which will contribute to a net zero or negative carbon footprint.
(Watch Video)


Ruth Peterson Award: Tom Rounds

The 2015 Ruth Peterson Award recipient, Tom Rounds, has been crucial to Sustainable San Mateo County’s work for nearly a decade. From first coming across an Indicators Report in an office lobby in 2005, to serving as Treasurer on the board, his advice, practical help and hands-on approach have helped make SSMC what it is today. He first volunteered on the Indicators Committee, researched individual indicators and then was editor of the City Reports sections for many years. Founder Ruth Peterson saw that his knowledge of budgets and accounting would be very helpful, and she persuaded him to become Treasurer. SSMC’s mission resonated with him and enabled him to know that he was part of a solution for our county’s future.

Sustainability Awards

Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company

In addition to making award-winning handcrafted beer, Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company practices a philosophy of re-utilization. The business refurbishes materials and equipment to use internally or for other businesses and groups that can benefit by re-utilizing items otherwise headed for the scrap pile. The brewery is also pioneering inventive bio-chemical research and has a prototype methane reactor designed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts promote a new green business standard not only for the brewing industry but as a sustainable waste diversion strategy for any company looking to balance environmental conservatism with economic prosperity. Opening the brewery to the public on Fridays gives residents from every part of the social spectrum a chance to meet, talk and share ideas. For the past 14 years, sustainable practices have allowed Devil’s Canyon to give back more”by taking and using less.
(Watch Video)

GreenCitizen, Inc

GreenCitizen’s mission is to develop a sustainable metropolitan model that provides individuals and businesses with a convenient and accountable way to reuse and recycle electronics. Though electronic waste makes up only 2% of America’s trash, it accounts for over 70% of our hazardous waste. Everything dropped off at eco-centers and transported to headquarters in Burlingame is either refurbished and resold, or dismantled. GreenCitizen promotes environmental health through reuse and recycling, ensuring that e-waste does not get sent to a landfill. Additionally, GreenCitizen hosts a local student volunteer program called Techbridge where students earn laptops for foster youth by volunteering their time to sort electronics at the main processing hub.
(Watch Video)

Puente de la Costa Sur

Puente de la Costa Sur is the only Community Resource Center in the region, serving the communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio. They are an indispensable resource especially for the underserved Latino & farmworker communities. Puente initiated and manages Pescadero Grown! – a vibrant farmer’s market in Pescadero & La Honda featuring the region’s local, organic farmers. The organization provides education and leadership development programs designed to transform lives and support residents to advocate for themselves. Additionally, Puente advocates for fair, equitable practices in the areas of education, youth employment, housing, medical care, transportation, and food security. Puente offers English & Spanish classes, tutoring, youth employment opportunities, health insurance enrollment, mental health support and various classes and workshops that help residents prosper.
(Watch Video)

Green Building Awards

Nueva School, San Mateo

Architects: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects • Builder: Devcon Construction, Inc. • Owner: The Nueva School

The Nueva School is an powerful example of a LEED Gold building which creates an ecology of learning for current and future students. The school is a creative laboratory for learning about sustainability in a bright, innovative design. The integration of exterior and interior spaces is inspirational and refreshing. Nueva selected an excellent site for a high school which draws students from the region via Caltrain. The result is a reduction in automobile traffic which will in turn reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Utilizing natural ventilation, day-lighting and photovoltaic panels, this Green Building exceeds the 2030 Challenge of carbon neutrality by using 65% less energy than a typical high school.
(Watch Video)

Honorable Mention: Johnston’s Saltbox, San Carlos

Architect: Glass Associates, Inc. • Builder: The Midglen Studio • Owners: Sean and Jennifer Johnston

The Jury was impressed by this sensitive adaptive reuse of an existing hardware store into an attractive neighborhood restaurant. The Saltbox has good proximity to transit for patrons and workers and a fluid indoor/outdoor connection. Unusual in an urban setting, the new rooftop garden provides sustainably produced herbs and vegetables for the restaurant below, a draw for San Carlos Locavores.

Honorable Mention: Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Replacement Hospital

Architect: HOK Architects / Polytech Associates, Inc. • Builder: Rudolph & Sletten, Inc. • Owner: Kaiser Permanente

The new hospital for Kaiser Redwood City is an ambitious large-scale institution headed for LEED Silver certification. An impressive sustainability contribution is that greater than 45% of the construction workforce lived locally, with 50% being from minorities. Kaiser received a significant rebate from PG&E based on the designed energy efficiency of the new structure. The new building is an attractive addition to Redwood City and San Mateo County, improving health services in the region.


Ruth Peterson Award: Ricki McGlashan

As a founding Sustainable San Mateo County member and close friend of the late Ruth Peterson, Ricki McGlashan’s contributions to the organization and local sustainability are immeasurable. Her past service as board member, and currently as an advisory board member, only scratch the surface of her 21+ years of commitment to our mission. In addition to significant financial support, she has been an active participant in several program committees and provides graphic design services pro bono for nearly all SSMC materials, including all 16 years of the Indicators Report. An avid cyclist, Ricki has served on the board of the Western Wheelers bicycle club and has also spent decades volunteering for Beyond War and the Foundation for a Global Community. Her passion and upbeat demeanor are infectious, and she spends much of her remaining free time staying active with her grandchildren. A San Mateo County resident for 60 years, Ricki’s commitment to the environment, peace and other civic causes embody the principles and values of the organization.

Sustainability Awards

Grand Boulevard Initiative

The Grand Boulevard Initiative brings together representatives of all the jurisdictions responsible for the design and planning of the 43-mile long El Camino Real transit corridor from Daly City in San Mateo County to San Jose in Santa Clara County. It sets out a vision for how El Camino Real (ECR) and neighborhoods located within ½ mile either side of ECR (including many existing downtown retail centers) can be developed in a more sustainable, attractive, and people-friendly manner to accommodate anticipated population growth. The Initiative is in response to the State’sSustainable Communities Strategy, which links transportation and land use planning and encourages new infill development designs so that new residents will be able to safely walk, bike or take public transit to go to work, recreation, services, and retail locations. The Initiative visualizes wider sidewalks, street trees, landscaped roadway medians, bike routes, and safer pedestrian crosswalks. The goal is to redevelop the El Camino corridor so that it can provide enough new housing units to meet countywide housing needs while creating a streetscape that is so attractive that people will want to live and work there.
(Watch Video)

Reach and Teach

each and Teach is a retail store on 25th Avenue in San Mateo dedicated to selling books, curricula, music, films, games, toys and fair-trade gifts to help people learn how to make the world a better place and get involved in local and world transformation. They also have “filling stations” where empty laundry, dish or hand soap containers can be refilled with earth-friendly products. The store is employee-owned, supports locally made products, and promotes social equity by bringing local groups together and fostering understanding between different communities. The store is available for community groups to use for meetings, and has hosted several workshops and films ranging from media literacy to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Reach and Teach is an eco-friendly retail store that teaches all ages about economic equity, gender equality, and environment issues. Co-founders, Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi, have won acclaim and awards for their publications. Reach and Teach is a San Mateo County Certified Green Business.
(Watch Video)

North Shoreview Montessori School

North Shoreview Montessori School (NSMS) is the only school in San Mateo County to be Green Star Certified by RecycleWorks. In addition to following the Montessori method of actively involved learning, it is a public “Magnet School” for Art and Music. NSMS strives to teach students environmental responsibility by encouraging them to care for the environment as a daily activity. Each classroom has a garden and many classrooms bake bread. The school addresses social equity by using a program called Kimochis to help students understand themselves and their peers and to resolve differences. Students test scores are above average, and parents are very involved in the school by doing volunteer work and fundraising. Each week all K-8 students and many parents come together for a “Friday Morning Gathering”, which includes a Pledge to the Earth emphasizing care for all races and living creatures, peace and dignity.
(Watch Video)

Green Building Awards

5th Avenue Alternative School, Redwood City

Architect: Brent McClure, AIA, Cody Anderson Wasney Architects; Builder: Roebbelen Contracting, Inc.; Owner: Sequoia Union High School District

Judges from the local AIA were impressed with the simplicity and beauty of this building. The daylighted atrium and corridors create a delightful atmosphere for sitting, reading and studying between classes. This project sets a high standard for a public school project and is the firstLEEDPlatinumPublic Schoolin the Bay Area. Proper siting of the building and careful computer modeling helped the designers achieve optimal solar and wind-aided natural ventilation through a central clerestory roof monitor. Energy consumption was reduced through daylighting, natural ventilation, and a heat recovery system. The project incorporated photo-voltaic panels on the roof allowing the generation of 77% of the anticipated energy load of the building. The team’s collaborative design approach brought the owner, architects, engineers and contractors together to maximize the implementation of sustainable design strategies, studying each building component: exterior skin, building systems and programs to see how each one affects the building’s final performance. The result is a very vibrant learning environment that will inspire students, teachers and the local community.
(Watch Video)

Honorable Mention: Affordable Housing at 7555 Mission Street, Daly City

Architect: Dan Ionescu Architects & Planners; Owner and Builder: Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco

This development’s unique approach to sustainability through in-kind donations, sweat equity and cost effectiveness was impressive. The architectural design is colorful and comfortable, similar to apartment developments that cost two to three times as much. Yet the reported cost per square foot is $86.56, unheard of in the Bay Area. By integrating energy saving techniques and 162 energy generating solar panels, the designers were able to achieve long term energy efficiency for 36 working families. The gearless elevator uses regenerative drivers to return energy to the electrical grid, eliminating the need for a machine room and petroleum based lubricants. The owner also received a grant from Levi Strauss for the purchase of insulation made from reclaimed denim scraps, which was a great reuse and repurposing of a material with no VOC’s or chemical irritants. Careful selection of materials and detailing provided a durable, environmentally friendly and attractive design.


Ruth Peterson Award: Rosalyn Koo

A life-long volunteer and social activist, Rosalyn Koo served on the Board of Directors of Sustainable San Mateo County from 2006 through 2012. As a long-time friend of Ruth Peterson’s, Roz was essential to the development of SSMC during these years, making connections and providing ideas, advice, and generous financial contributions. She has made a career out of providing assistance to low-income seniors, serving on the Board of Self-Help for the Elderly for the past 25 years and leading the agency through phenomenal expansion. Roz has received many awards for community service including her induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in San Mateo County.

Sustainability Awards

Bruce Greenstein, Skyline College, San Bruno (Watch video)

Bruce Greenstein is an environmental science professor at Skyline College where he inspires his students to become leaders of energy-efficiency, green-business entrepreneurship and building performance. Professor Greenstein created the Solar & Building Science Learning Center at Skyline College to educate, train, and rejuvenate the green-economy workforce so they may address our current and future energy challenges, greenhouse-gas emission reduction goals, and overall quality of life for our community.

Sonrisas Community Dental Center, Half Moon Bay (Watch video)

At Sonrisas Community Dental Center, young children to seniors on the San Mateo County Coast, who lack access to dental care because of under or no employment, pregnancy, or homelessness, receive free dental education and free or significantly reduced cost treatment. Serving 1,200 patients through 4,100 visits in 2012, Sonrisas aims to restore dental health to people in need through preventative education while empowering individuals to take control of their oral health and live happier, more productive, pain free lives.

RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching), Redwood City (Watch video)

RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) in Redwood City provides teachers, educational staff, and community groups with donated educational materials from San Mateo County businesses and residents. Founded in 1994, RAFT’s goal is to inspire, engage, and educate children with hands-on learning. Their 1,500 members have served 95,000 children in various educational programs throughout the area.

Recology San Mateo County, San Carlos (Watch video)

Recology San Mateo County‘s motto of “Waste Zero” is reflected throughout their collection services to 93,750 residences and 11,000 businesses in San Mateo County. A 100% employee-owned company, Recology encourages customers to recycle and compost before sending residual waste to the landfill. In addition, they practice sustainable procurement, energy conservation, and provide a living wage for their employees.

Green Building Awards

Lower and Middle School Project, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (Watch video)

Owner: Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton; Architect: WRNS Studio; Builder: Herrero Contractors, Inc.

The Sacred Heart Schools project is an excellent example of effectively applying sustainable design strategies to a school campus. The result is a beautifully integrated campus that is composed of unique buildings, each of which responds sensitively to its individual programmatic requirements and site opportunities. The simple and attractive interpretive exhibits for the greywater and stormwater are especially noteworthy and appropriate for a school campus.

Shoreway Environmental Center, RethinkWaste/SBWMA, San Carlos (Watch video)

Owner: RethinkWaste/SBWMA; Architect: J.R. Miller & Associates; Builder: SJ Amoroso, Inc.
The Shoreway Environmental Center establishes a high bar for sustainable recycling and material handling facilities in San Mateo County. Residents of the Peninsula can all be proud of its successes, including its LEED Gold certification; its inspirational Educational Center that offers free student and public tours; the super efficiency of the Materials Recovery Facility, which is powered almost entirely by on-site photovoltaics; and how it reflects and communicates the agency’s core sustainable goals and values.

636 El Camino, MidPen Housing, South San Francisco (Watch video)

Owner: MidPen Housing Corp.; Architect: BAR Architects; Builder: Devcon Construction, Inc.
Revitalizing an area along El Camino, this 109 unit workforce housing development exemplifies South San Francisco’s commitment to the vision of walkable, sustainable development along the “Grand Boulevard,” a pedestrian oriented, transit-rich El Camino Real. Ranging from three to five stories, the development provides retail frontage enlivening El Camino along with several mid block courtyards for residents to enjoy and children to play safely. Solar panels and solar hot water are only a few of the sustainable features of the creative addition to this South City neighborhood.


Sustainability Awards

Pie Ranch, Pescadero. (Watch Video)

At Pie Ranch, local high school students learn how to make a pie, from growing the raw ingredients to putting it on the table. In addition, Pie Ranch is home to an apprenticeship program for aspiring young farmers, who live on site for 11 months practicing sustainable farming methods. Director Jered Lawson has worked decades to help link communities with local farms.

St. Francis Center, Redwood City (Watch Video)

The St. Francis Center of Redwood City is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families in need to live in dignity and become self-supporting members of the community. Founded in 1986, the St. Francis Center provides essential services such as housing, food, and clothing to over 3,000 community members each month. However, their most important service is education-education for the children and the parents of the families they serve.

SolarCity, San Mateo (Watch Video)

SolarCity, a national provider of solar design, financing, installation and monitoring, & energy efficiency services, has an industry game-changing business model that has made solar power affordable & simple to adopt for both businesses & homeowners. Eliminating one of the biggest barriers to solar adoption, upfront costs, gives many customers the option to install solar for free & pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power. SolarCity is now one of the country’s largest full-service solar & energy efficiency providers.

Alane O’Rielly Weber, San Mateo (Watch Video)

Since her childhood, Alane has nurtured a special reverence for plants & nature. Two decades ago, she began focusing on the soil & its multitudes of beneficial microbes. Alane now owns & operates Botanical Arts in San Mateo, which offers consulting and support services for sustainable landscape design & maintenance, emphasizing plant nutrition & soil biological management. She also adheres to & teaches Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles, & is a huge promoter of composting, home-grown vegetables & native plants.

Green Building Awards

Award of Excellence, Residential Project: Tah.Mah.Lah, The Holland-Yates Residence (Watch Video)

Owner: Paul Holland and Linda Yates; Architect: Robert Glazier for HKS/Hill Glazier Studio; Builder: MGM Construction

This is an exceptional project using zero fossil fuels, & producing 137% of its projected energy use with photovoltaic cells & geothermal sources. Their holistic approach to design & construction included architect, contractors & subcontractors buying into the guiding theme & goal: “beyond sustainability to regenerative”. It features 98% waste diversion, FSC certified wood, a superinsulated building envelope, recycled glass, reclaimed materials & recycled steel. Tah.Mah.Lah exceeds LEED Platinum certification standards.

Honor Award, Institutional Project: Kaiser Permanente San Mateo Medical Offices (Watch Video)

Owner: Kaiser Permanente; Architect: Roger Hay for Ratcliff; Builder: DPR

The provision of a “total health environment” within a few minutes’ walk to residences, transportation, businesses and shopping is a very sustainable approach to creating an accessible community. The building makes use of daylighting, natural ventilation and high efficiency HVAC. Seventy five percent of the structural steel is recycled steel and low VOC products are used throughout the facility. With a pharmacy, lab, x-ray, optometry and optical center, primary, pediatric and ob-gyn care, and family care clinics, the project provides a one-stop community central location for thousands of local patients-which reduces vehicle trips and greenhouse gas emissions.

Honor Award, Public Project: The Bill and Jean Lane Education Center at Edgewood Park and Nature Preserve (Watch Video)

Owner: San Mateo County Parks; Architect: Ron Yeo, FAIA Architect; Builder: Applegate Johnson

The Bill and Jean Lane Education Center at Edgewood Park and Nature Preserve is a public project to reclaims and re-purposes many items from other public projects. The design team involved the community throughout the process, from selecting the building site, the choice of reclaimed restroom tiles, as well as the design of the future native plant garden. The building features natural exhibition lighting, natural ventilation & an 8 KW photovoltaic system.


2011 Event Photos

Sustainability Awards

Bridge Housing’s Trestle Glen Affordable Housing Development (Watch Video)

Trestle Glen embraces the “3 E’s” of sustainability, Environment, Economy and Equity, by providing green building features in an accessible, affordable housing development. This community provides below-market-rate housing for families earning 20-25% of the Area Median Income. A GreenPoint Rated score of 128, where 50 is the minimum, was achieved by using EnergyStar appliances, bio-swales to filter rainwater, solar panels for pre-heating domestic hot water, and low-VOC paints, among others. Located close to the Colma BART station, the development includes secure bicycle parking in the garage, and preference was given to families with one or fewer vehicles, thereby encouraging reduced car ownership. With a child-care facility and play area on site, and close proximity to transportation, schools and jobs, families are able to spend more time together and engage in the community. Trestle Glen has integrated services providing residents a plan for future homeownership as well as opportunities for furthering their education and building job skills.

Earthbeam Natural Foods (Watch Video)

As a staple on Broadway Avenue in Burlingame since 1971, Earthbeam Natural Foods is one of the longest-running small businesses in the county. The store stocks only organic, local produce, providing an educational component for those wondering why they can’t find zucchini in January. They also support local businesses and farms, focusing on “food miles” to ensure quality products made under fair working conditions with minimal fuel consumption. Owner David Hinckle focuses on companies who share his commitment to sustainability, and sources products such as coffee and spices that are not available locally through Fair Trade Certified organizations. The store employs 17 people, many of which are long-time staff who are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about their products. In addition, David has given many young people their first job, including some with physical disabilities, teaching them his core values and carefully mentoring them to success.

Lyngso Garden Materials (Watch Video)

As a certified Green Business in the Bay Area, Lyngso Garden Materials provides sustainable gardening and landscaping materials and advice to the local community. With locally-sourced options for nearly every landscaping need, recycled materials, and responsibly harvested natural products, this family-owned business is the go-to place for locals hoping to improve their outdoor spaces. Their focus on the “soil food web” provides guidance for customers looking to create the living environment of an organic garden. Lyngso has a LEED-certified advisor on staff to help with design and practices that meet their stringent standards, and provides How-To clinics to educate the public. For decades Terry Lyngso, her family, and employees have been supporting local community programs through philanthropy and volunteerism.

South San Francisco Scavengers (Watch Video)

As a family-owned business South San Francisco Scavenger Company [SSFSC] has been providing solid waste collection services since 1914. To ensure that all members of the community are able to participate in this vital service, SSFSC offers specialized lifeline, senior citizen, and handicap rates. All 100 employees, many of which have been with the company for twenty or more years, enjoy a safe work environment, prevailing wages and benefits, as well as educational and training opportunities, virtually eliminating turnover. Solar panels on the material recovery facility off-set electricity requirements, and the company is seeking LEED certification for their office. The biggest environmental impacts are from the fleet servicing the communities, and SSFSC is making strides in this area as well. They use biodiesel 20, created from used cooking oil, are transitioning to Compressed Natural Gas, have purchased two of the first-available hybrid trucks, and are also utilizing GPS for route efficiency. South San Francisco Scavenger Company has been voluntarily reporting their greenhouse gas emissions to The Climate Registry, showing a 17.82% reduction since 2006.

Green Building

New Residence: Habitat for Humanity – 206 & 208 Miriam Street, Daly City (Watch Video)

Owner: Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco; Architect: David Crabbe Architect; Builder: Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco

This submission is an excellent example of how to create affordable green homes, “Green homes can be built with conventional, relatively inexpensive materials if one pays attention to the details.” Built to be affordable for working people, it is ideally located within 1/2 mile of a Bart station and 1/4 mile of a major bus route, with a city park and retail stores nearby. It is an infill project that significantly increases the housing density while fitting into the single family neighborhood, with small front porches and fully landscaped front yards. The homes achieved GreenPoint Rated status with 139 points by utilizing solar photovoltaics, EnergyStar appliances, drought-tolerant California native plants, and low-flow water fixtures.

Residential Remodel: Shamrock Shack (Watch Video)

Owner: James and Patricia Kremer; Architect: Ann Edminster, Design AVEnues; Builder: Daniel J. Miller, Miller Construction

The Shamrock Shack is a 3rd generation green building whose story began in 1938 with the construction of the original structure using salvaged materials from San Francisco such as the wood flooring, cobblestone hearth and wood framing. The entire essence of this building embodies the concept of sustainability through the practice of re-use from the initial construction through the current renovation. The Kremer’s recognized that “it’s possible to ‘live large’ in a small space” and that by investing up-front they could create a home that’s flexible and durable enough to age with the homeowners and withstand several generations of occupants. With solar hot water and photovoltaics, FSC certified wood, spray foam insulation, energy efficient appliances, and all new low-e windows and doors, this ‘shack’ is significantly reducing its energy and water usage.

Non-Residential: College of San Mateo Health & Wellness (Watch Video)

Owner: San Mateo Community College District; Architect: Jeff Stahl, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning, Inc.; Builder: McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

The College of San Mateo’s new Health and Wellness Center makes a strong welcoming statement and refreshes a mid-century modern community college campus. This project achieved LEED Gold status by reducing the energy costs 34% and water usage 46% over a standard building. Over 96% of construction waste from demolition of the previous building was diverted from landfill, and many of the materials selected utilized recycled content or were sourced regionally. The building’s multifunctional program contributes to a sustainable community by educating vocational students who in turn provide dental and cosmetology services to the nearby residents. Along with the students on campus, the community has the opportunity to share the wellness aspects of the San Mateo Athletic Club and their adaptive physical education program.

Mixed Use: MidPen Housing’s Peninsula Station Affordable Housing Development (Watch Video)

Owner: MidPen Housing Corp.; Architect: Jon Worden Architects; Builder: Douglas Ross Construction, Inc.

MidPen Housing’s Peninsula Station demonstrates an impressive use of private and public funds to create an attractive multifamily project that leverages green building and creates a dense but highly sustainable community. The project achieved GreenPoint Rated status for Multifamily projects with 153 points. A solar hot water system preheats domestic hot water, and photovoltaics provide at least 10% of electricity demand. The use of public art and drought tolerant courtyard landscaping enhances the architectural experience. This project provides affordable housing for families earning between 30% and 50% of the Area Median Income near the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and Shopping Center. Peninsula Station includes a community center, computer lab, fitness center, playground, outdoor courtyards and community gardens and offers health and wellness programs, after-school programs including tutoring, computer training and financial literacy courses.


Sustainability Awards

Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin (Watch Video)

Since 1916, Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin has offered job-training services that help residents of these counties transform their lives. Known as the “Original Recycler” for its robust recycling programs, Goodwill has also made a profound impact in San Mateo County with its ReCompute computer training program. Program participants refurbish hundreds of computers each year and distribute them at low or no cost to individuals living in the ‘digital divide.’ SSMC congratulates Goodwill for its programs that exemplify all three E’s of sustainability – the economy, social wellbeing, and the environment.

Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART) (Watch Video)

Lack of affordable housing is one of the primary concerns in San Mateo County and is a threat to the County’s long-term vitality. Established in 2003, the mission of Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART) is to raise public and private funds to meet critical housing needs in the County. This public/private partnership has invested over $7 million to date to build, renovate, or purchase 662 affordable new homes for working families and seniors. Furthermore, most housing funded by HEART is high density and close to public transit – two of the primary tenets of sustainable development.

Jason Bade (Watch Video)

Now a freshman at Stanford University, Jason made the most of his four years as a student at Aragon High School in San Mateo. Under Jason’s leadership, the schools Environmental Impact Committee saw a host of accomplishments. He lobbied the San Mateo Union High School District to install solar PV panels; reinvigorated the student-run, volunteer recycling program; led the installation of an energy management computer system at the school; organized reusable water bottle sales and sneaker recycling and more. In addition to his accomplishments at Aragon, Jason was also appointed to the City of Foster City’s Environmental Task Force where he was involved in the City’s solid waste reduction efforts.

La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District’s Meal Program (Watch Video)

The La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District partnered with the Tom Kat Ranch Educational Foundation to develop a program that annually serves over 40,000 healthy, mostly organic and locally-sourced meals for its schoolchildren. The goals are to educate students at making better food choices and to establish a program supported by and benefiting the local community. This program helps reduce the agricultural use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. SSMC applauds and encourages programs that are easily replicated and that improve the County’s health and social equity.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Shared Vision Process (Watch Video)

Through a series of community forums and surveys to gain stakeholder input, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors developed the County’s Shared Visions 2010 and 2025. These efforts drew more than 1,000 participants who together, set a future course for a sustainable County. Results include an initiative to provide health insurance coverage to more than 28,000 children; fostering innovation by funding school math and science programs; development of 119 units of transit-oriented affordable housing; green jobs summit; and much more. Since this process began, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has been accountable to and relied upon the shared vision community-driven goals. SSMC applauds the development of these innovative blueprints for a sustainable county and, more importantly, for the Board of Supervisors holding themselves accountable to them.

Green Building Awards

New Construction Residential: Rubenstein Residence, Hillsborough (Watch Video)

Owner: Michael Rubenstein; Architect: TRG Architects; Builder: Miller Development
Seamless integration of site and building with sustainable construction and accessibility considerations. Welcoming, inviting entry with nice articulation of massing and use of materials. Aggressive whole-systems approach to energy use and conservation such as photovoltaic array, solar thermal and ground source heat-pump system results in a net zero metering and recycling of gray water.

Residential Remodel: Schena-Ricke Residence, Menlo Park (Watch Video)

Owner: Bruce Schena and Cathy Ricke; Architect: Ana Williamson Architects; Builder: Drew Maran Construction
An elegant transformation of a 1939 cottage that reflects the owner’s values and appreciation of sustainable modern architecture while respecting its neighbors and context.

Commercial Project: Michael J Homer Science and Student Life Center (Watch Video)

Owner: Sacred Heart School; Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects; Builder: DPR Construction
Integrated design of systems and building, and the transparent connection between indoor and outdoor, result in an classroom building that is both a functional and an educational tool that demonstrates sustainable environmental strategies.


Sustainability Awards

Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance (Watch Video)

The mission of the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance is to “reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles traveling in, to and through San Mateo County, reducing vehicle emissions resulting in improved air quality.” Since 2000, the Alliance has reached more and more commuters through a diverse host of programs. More than 5,000 individuals have participated in carpools or vanpools and 17,000 have tried public transit through the Alliance’s Try Transit program. In 2008 alone, the Alliance’s shuttles carried roughly 430,000 passengers on its 19 shuttle bus routes, connecting commuters to/from BART and Caltrain stations to their places of employment. Nearly 300 employers representing 103,000 employees actively support Alliance’s programs.

City of Redwood City’s Civic Engagement (Watch Video)

The core purpose of City of Redwood City’s Civic Engagement efforts is to “build a great community together.” For Redwood City, this includes bringing people into the decision-making process and engaging them to address issues that the community faces together. Redwood City’s environmental initiatives offer a variety of ongoing public participation opportunities focused on sustainability. One of the City’s pioneering engagement efforts was a special World Café discussion on climate change, in which nearly 100 people participated in this innovative conversational methodology. Other examples of Redwood City’s civic engagement efforts include: the “Hoover Area Connection” study sessions, which brings under-served communities into the discussion; the Cool Campaign “YO” (Youth Outdoors) initiative; and a series of workshops and study sessions that brought together hundreds of interested people to discuss the development of Redwood City’s Downtown Precise Plan.

Webcor Builders (Watch Video)

When it comes to green building, Webcor Builders is among the best. Webcor is responsible for the construction of many sustainable buildings and LEED certified projects, including Phase II of the Electronics Arts Campus in Redwood City and the new California Academy of Sciences, which is the largest public Platinum-rated building in the world. Webcor’s environmental contributions have been recognized by Engineering News Record (ENR) Magazine which ranked Webcor as second of its Top Green Contractors in the U.S. for 2008. Webcor is the first general contractor to voluntarily report its companywide greenhouse gas emissions with the California Climate Action Registry. In addition to its environmental leadership, Webcor is dedicated to supporting the communities in which it operates by encouraging its employees to get involved with local charities.

Yerba Buena California Native Plant Nursery (Watch Video)

Established in 1960, Yerba Buena California Native Plant Nursery is California’s oldest retail nursery business specializing in native plants and ferns. Located in the coastal hills above Woodside, over 600 species of plants, representing all regions of California from the beaches to the Sierras, are grown here. In addition to being a business, Yerba Buena is an educational center for native plants, with a mission to get these plants into local gardens, thus, reducing water consumption for landscaping. In 2008, the California Native Plant Society named Yerba Buena’s Native Plant Garden as one of the top five native plant gardens in California.

Reece Computer Systems (Honorable Mention)

Reece Computer Systems of Half Moon Bay provides computer sales and support to businesses and non-profit enterprises in the Bay Area and is this year’s honorable mention. As one of only 130 certified “B” Beneficial Corporations in the United States, Reece Computer Systems encourages energy reduction, recommends recycling and accepts e-waste at no charge every day. In addition to their environmental achievements, they purposely employ disadvantaged and/or at risk individuals. Reece Computer Systems was named 2008 Small Business of the Year for District #8 by Senator Leland Yee.

Green Building Awards

Residential Winner: Skillman Residence, San Carlos (Watch Video)

Owner: Peter and Laurel Skillman; Architect: Freebairn-Smith & Crane; Builder: CEO Construction, Inc.

The Skillman residence is an exemplary residential project that demonstrates innovative reclamation of materials from other projects along with extensive innovative applications of sustainable design strategies. The house is beautifully sited on the hill and blends into the landscape with the green roof planted with native species. In addition to the green roof, the innovative design strategies include LED lighting, daylight harvesting and passive solar design which results in extremely low energy usage.

Honorable Mention: Reyering/Walker Residence, Woodside

Owner: Marty Walker & Nancy Reyering; Architect: Hermannsson Architects; Builder: Storey Builders, Inc.

The Reyering & Walker Residence is a project that is disciplined in its design approach to renovation and expansion of the existing buildings. The extensive use of salvaged materials along with design sensitivity towards maintaining the open space produced a unique, warm and inviting home.

Commercial Winner: Portola Valley Town Center, Portola Valley (Watch Video)

Owner: Town of Portola Valley; Architect: Siegel & Strain Architects/Goring & Straja Architects; Builder: TBI Construction Management

The Portola Valley Town Center demonstrates to the community the town’s leadership role in sustainability design. The extensive use of natural ventilation, daylighting and shading, plus the use of recycled and reclaimed materials give the three buildings a comfortable and natural feeling while accomplishing energy conservation. The site was carefully designed with sensitivity to stormwater management and the preservation of old growth redwood trees. Their application for LEED certification shows qualification for a Platinum rating and the photovoltaic cells on the roof demonstrate a commitment to trying new technologies to reduce carbon footprint.

Honorable Mention: Joseph A. Fernekes Recreation Building, South San Francisco

Owner: City of South San Francisco; Architect: Wong & Logan Architects; Builder: RGM Construction Management

The daylighting, use of natural materials and flow of the interior to exterior are sustainable strategies implemented in the Recreation Center that will have direct benefits on the community as they use this center for years to come.


Sustainability Awards, Inc. (Watch Video) is a Redwood City-based company that has used its website,, to garner attention to world problems such as AIDS, deforestation and human rights abuses. This unique site empowers its members to start and sign petitions, create networks between non-profit groups and causes, post news articles, send eCards (each of which generates a donation by Care2 to save one-square foot of rainforest), and much more. Through its network of more than 350 partner non-profit groups, it has flexed its muscle for various causes. Read More…

Catalino Tapia (Watch Video)

Catalino Tapio is an extraordinary story of perseverance and giving. Tapia came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 20 with merely $6 in his pocket. He worked as a baker and a machine operator and, with his wife, bought a home in Redwood City. After watching his son graduate from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School, Tapia, now 63, established a nonprofit group called the Bay Area Gardeners Foundation, which provides scholarships mainly to Latino students in need as they enter college. Read More…

Community Gatepath (Watch Video)

Community Gatepath is the largest non-profit group in the county serving people with disabilities, reaching more than 6,700 people. Gatepath is the leading agency providing early intervention services for kids with developmental disabilities. They also offer job placement assistance and help transition disabled people to live independently. As a result, businesses like Safeway, Longs Drugs and Marriott heavily rely on Gatepath to provide people in search of work.

Harley Farms Goat Dairy (Watch Video)

Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero started 16 years ago with six goats and has since grown into a 200-goat operation as the only dairy farm in San Mateo County. The nine-acre farm is a “farmstead dairy,” meaning the cheese produced comes directly from the farm’s animals. It has received six national cheese awards and was the recipient of this past year’s San Mateo County Farmer of the Year award. It also was featured in a February 2007 New York Times article about “agri-tourism,” a concept in which small farms open up to curious visiting urbanites.Read More…

Honorable Mention: The Solar Our Schools program (SOS)

The Solar Our Schools Program has a partnership between Owens Electric and Solar and Hillsdale High School’s Environmental Club represent this year’s honorary mention. Through the SOS program, up to 20 students from the school’s Environmental Club completed four educational sessions that covered solar technology, energy conservation and solar design and installation. Owens Electric and Solar, based in San Mateo, implemented the SOS program to use school districts to not only teach students the many benefits of solar, but also install solar in school facilities for cash-strapped districts. Hillsdale High School now is in the process of installing solar panels.

Tribute: The San Mateo County Community College District (Watch Video)

SMCCD received a special tribute for exemplifying all three E’s of sustainability-economy, environment and social equity. Not only does the District provide a solid education at a relatively low price, it supplies the local workforce with skilled and educated people and provides housing to its faculty and engages in environmentally-friendly projects with new facilities.

Green Building Awards

Single-Family Residence: TAIJI House, Menlo Park (Watch Video)

Owner: Scott and Jackie Wood; Builder: Drew Maran Construction; Architect: Osborne Architects
A wonderful example of how attractive a functional green home can be. The responsiveness to the site, the consideration of the relationship between the interior and exterior spaces, and the aggressive use of sustainable and recycled materials set this project apart.

Honorable Mention: Bier Residence 934 Paloma Avenue, Burlingame

Owner: Aline Bier; Builder: Spectrum Development; Architect: Jack Matthews Architects

A truly innovative reuse of an existing house. The extensive amount of material recycled from the previous house, the respectful approach to the site, and the high use of new green materials create a remarkable project.

Commercial Winner: Nueva School Hillside Learning Complex, Hillsborough (Watch Video)

Owner/CEO: Shirley Doxtad, Business Manager; Builder: Herrero Contractors, Inc.; Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

The commitment of the entire team to a sustainable building is apparent in every aspect of this project. The owner, the design team, the administration and the students all have a role not only in building a green building but also – and perhaps more importantly – in operating a green building. The project works on all levels, from the energy efficiency of natural ventilation to the use of the existing trees on the site for amenities such as benches. It sets a high standard for the aspirations of other buildings in the county.

Honorable Mention: Villa Montgomery 1540 El Camino Real, Redwood City

Owner/CEO: Jeff Oberdorfer, Executive Director; Builder: Branagh Construction; Architect: Fisher Friedman, FAIA
The location of the project on a transit route, the multi-story solution for a reduced footprint, and the use of a brownfield site are all positive features of this project. Additionally the educational aspect of programs implemented at the facility, such as green housekeeping and communications about the choices and materials used in the design, is admirable.

Honorable Mention: San Mateo County Youth Services Center, 222 Paul Scannell Drive, San Mateo

Owner: County of San Mateo, Capital Projects Manager, James Sowerbrower; Builder: Turner Construction Company; Architect: KMD Architects

The layout of the plan really respects the young people’s needs for as much normalcy as possible. The sensitive site plan allows for an educational atmosphere as opposed to an institutional feel, and the material choice and color allow for joy. The San Mateo Youth Center is a good example of executing sustainable goals in a public project.


Sustainability Awards

Eleanor Williams-Curry (Watch Video)

Eleanor Williams-Curry was honored for her contribution to the success of young women in our county. In 1986, she founded the “Eleanor Curry Fund for Girls and Young Women” to help them achieve success. Her philosophy is summed up in this quote: “Life is full of lines drawn to keep people apart, in groups, in neighborhoods, in racial divisions, in genders. I like to influence erasing such lines.” She has spread her talents throughout the county-from being a KSOL radio broadcaster to a professional mediator to her active membership on various boards of directors throughout our community. She says that throughout her life she has loved “discovering new ways to do things.”

Rotary Floritas (Watch Video)

Rotary Floritas, sponsored by the San Mateo Rotary Club, demonstrates the effectiveness of a community group perceiving a need and filling it. The Rotary Floritas, a beautiful 50 unit facility, opened in November of 2005, and offers low-income and disabled seniors a safe, convenient and affordable option. It also was designed using “green building” construction methods.

Samaritan House (Watch Video)

Samaritan House has long provided important services to the less fortunate in our county. These include counseling of displaced persons on managing their lives, and providing clothing, medical care, food, shelter, employment assistance, and food & toys for the holidays. Samaritan House provides those services that are essential to our quality of life.

The City of Millbrae (Watch Video)

Millbrae is leading the way with two forward-thinking programs: their Energy Cogeneration Facility at the wastewater treatment plant, and their Recycling and Waste Prevention Program. The upgraded wastewater treatment plant uses kitchen grease from local restaurants to help power the plant. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases city revenues and reduces energy costs. The waste reduction program includes the city’s purchasing of recycled-content products, comprehensive in-house recycling, email updates to staff about the latest recycling efforts, reduction of hazardous cleaning products, and public outreach programs. Smart management saves money.

Honorable Mention: Atherton’s Laurel School Zero Waste Program

Atherton’s Laurel School Zero Waste Program teaches sustainability though direct education in the classroom and waste reduction at lunchtime. Waste from the hot lunches is composted and turned into dirt for gardens.

Honorable Mention: Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Program

At Half Moon Bay’s Hatch School, the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Program improves the children’s health and nutrition with an integrated garden/nutrition/physical fitness curriculum involving kids, parents, staff and the community.

Green Building Awards

San Mateo Public Library (Watch Video)

Opened in August 2006, the library and its construction highlight the benefits of adopting green principles, and it has earned a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Of particular note is the attention paid to the life-cycle of the building’s materials and systems. Some examples include the recycling of 90% of the old building’s demolished materials, new materials obtained from local sustainable sources, and increased energy and water efficiency. Read more…

Honorable Mention: Edminster-Bohner Home Renovation, Pacifica

Juror Jacki Yahn of Jacqueline Yahn Architects commented on the the renovation, “A very resourceful project, inspired by the ecological principle that less is more. This small addition and remodel transformed this home to become energy efficient, using natural ligh and ventilation, while visually creating a bridge to nature.”


Sustainability Awards

Applied Biosystems (Watch Video)

Applied Biosystems has reduced hazardous waste generation by more than 50% at its local facilities in the past five years. It has retrofitted its Foster City campus with many energy saving devices and is a leader in recycling. Employees are offered incentives in support of carpooling and public transit. It is working to eliminate many suspected carcinogens from its instrument designs although it is currently exempt from the Restrictions on Hazardous Substances Directive. Applied Biosystems was recognized by Community Gatepath of Northern California for employing people with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. For eleven years, it has supported biotechnology education at San Mateo High School through a program open to both students and adults through the San Mateo County Regional Occupation Program.

Sue Lempert (Watch Video)

Sue Lempert has dedicated many years to public service as a member of the San Mateo City Council, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and other public agencies where she has supported policies consistent with the triple bottom-line of sustainability. Lempert initiated the Rail Corridor Plan to encourage mixed-use, transit-oriented development. She is an advocate for more bicycle and pedestrian paths and worked for the creation of Shoreline Park. Lempert has encouraged developers to include 15% affordable housing units in new developments. She has pushed for future City of San Mateo buildings to meet “green building” standards and is currently working to develop the San Mateo City Sustainable Development Policy.

The Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC) (Watch Video)

PCRC has for 19 years helped people to resolve conflict in a peaceful manner and to work together effectively. Resolving conflict is an important aspect of sustainability in a civil society. PCRC has aided individuals, groups and organizations by identifying problems, clarifying perspectives, developing viable options and reaching durable and mutually satisfactory agreements through the use of non-adversarial processes. PCRC has 200 trained volunteers from many ethnic, social, educational and vocational backgrounds who help people solve problems in an effective and creative way.

Amy Wright (Watch Video)

Amy Wright created and implemented the New Beginnings Garden at Shelter Network’s Haven Family House in Menlo Park. She brought together many willing donors and volunteers to contribute materials and time to build the garden. Her persistence has netted more than $90,000 of in-kind donations and more than 900 volunteer hours. The garden supplies fresh fruits and vegetables for all of Shelter Network’s residents, who are temporarily without permanent housing, and offers garden maintenance training to interested residents.

Honorable Mention: Arthur and Elena Court and Arthur Court Designs

Arthur Court Designs designs and manufactures decorative accessories and serving pieces inspired by nature and wildlife. The Courts have assumed a leadership role for sustainable thinking in their business and in their philanthropies. The business facilities have been retrofitted to include a solar electric system and drought-resistant landscaping, and their business is a leader in waste reduction strategies. A portion of all sales help fund wildlife preservation and environmental research and education. They also contribute to local grass roots organizations as well as to national groups such as the Rain Forest Action Network.

Honorable Mention: Marine Science Institute, Redwood City

For 34 years the Marine Science Institute has brought students of all ages in direct contact with the natural environment emphasizing the interdependence of all living things. It provides hands-on experience of the San Francisco Bay through its shore and vessel program. Scholarships are available for their many programs and summer camps which teach about the importance of the bay and how human activities impact the natural environment.

Green Building Awards<

SUGEN Laboratory (Watch Video)

Owner: SUGEN Labratory; Architect: DES Architects + Engineers; Builder: XL Construction

This South San Francisco uses sustainable materials, an energy conserving heating and ventilating system, and water conserving fixtures. They have included a kiosk describing these features which will educate others to follow their lead.

Honorable Mention: The Green Sanctuary

A straw-bale yoga studio in Pacifica which uses primarily organic materials. Much of the structure is biodegradable and very low in embodied energy. Award judges said the “deliberate decision to omit building systems in light of the mild local climate results in a significant reduction in the building’s ecological footprint.” Unique attention was given to engaging the community through workshops on straw-bale construction, thus exposing many more people to green building in action. The project architect was Martin Hammer. The structure was built by Vital Systems and Moroso Construction in collaboration with workshops on straw bale construction. The owners are Quynh Nguyen and Craig Brown.


Sustainability Awards

The Cargill South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

This project was hailed by environmentalists as the “holy grail.” Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “Cargill is clearly doing a major public good and deserves deep appreciation.” The project frees up 16,100 acres for use by local, state and federal wildlife agencies, increases Bay tidal wetlands by nearly 50 percent, and preserves 25 square miles of open space. It also improves water quality, flood control and provides crucial habitat for endangered species. At the same time Cargill’s investment in technology and productivity shrinks their industrial footprint by over 60% but preserves nearly 400 permanent, living wage jobs.

“Getting Green at Central”

This grassroots effort at Central Elementary School in Belmont has inspired the whole school to recycle everything from aluminum to tennis shoes-and in the process saved enough money to build a new play structure. They have received worldwide recognition for their efforts, including the President’s Environmental Youth award, and they have inspired many other schools to follow their example.

Jacob’s Ranch/Del Cabo, Inc.

Jacob’s Ranch/Del Cabo began as organic herb farms in Pescadero. It has expanded into one of the largest organic herb farms in the country and was the inspiration for a venture into Mexico that has turned into an even bigger business. CEO Larry Jacobs and his wife Sandra Belin partnered with Mexican farmers, forming a coop of more than 200 small family farmers growing organically and selling worldwide.

Pietro Parravano, San Mateo County Harbor District Commissioner

Pietro Parravano has shown leadership at the local up to the international level working for permanent systemic change in the area of sustainable ocean resource use and protection. His work has included education, mobilization of stakeholders, policy change, and coordination and leadership on sustainable practices and programs.

Surfrider Foundation San Mateo County

The Surfrider Foundation embodies the principles of sustainability in several ways: improving and sustaining environmental quality by recognizing that the diversity and ecological integrity of the coasts are necessary to the well being of the whole earth; promoting equal, free, and open access to County beaches for all people; educating the community about water quality, pollution, coastal ecology and biodiversity; and supporting businesses that embody sustainable practices in accordance with the CERES (formerly Valdez) Principles.

Elkus Youth Ranch, Half Moon Bay

For nearly a quarter century, Elkus Youth Ranch has been offering opportunities for students and teachers to experience environmental science, California history, animal care and agriculture programs. The ranch hosts about 9000 visitors annually-with a special welcome for urban, disabled and inner city youth.

Green Building Award Winners

d’Souza/de la Torre Residence, Belmont

Architects: David Arkin & Anni Tilt, Arkin-Tilt Architects; Builder: Ebcon Development, Inc.; Owners: Gladwyn d’Souza & Martina de la Torre

This residence was honored for the holistic approach to sustainable design. The project incorporated recycled materials, sustainable site selection and uses, innovative heating and cooling systems (both passive and active) and included multi-functional use of space to reduce the overall building size.

Honorable Mention: Hogg Residence, Half Moon Bay

Architect: John Hermannsson, Architect A.I.A.; Builder: Spectrum Development; Owners: Alec & Michelle Hogg

Commendable was the complete re-use of the existing structure and the owner’s and architect’s commitment to look at all options, carefully consider material selections, and maintain sensitivity to the community and surroundings.


Sustainability Awards

Shelter Network

Shelter Network is a non-profit organization that has been providing services to the homeless in San Mateo County for fifteen years. Its services include shelter and food plus ongoing supervision of goal setting and goal fulfillment, money management, job and housing searches, workshops on essential life skills, organized children’s activities, licensed child care, laundry facilities, emergency money, and substance abuse recovery.

Project Build Brownfields Job Training Program

A program of OICW, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the City of East Palo Alto. It trains unemployed residents of East Palo Alto in basic construction, hazardous waste handling, and lead and asbestos abatement. Many trainees are former inmates and substance abusers. This program helps restore contaminated wetlands, build a trained workforce and revitalize the community.

Michael Scanlon

Mike Scanlon is CEO of SamTrans and Executive Director of CalTrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. During the past four years, Mike has greatly increased promotion and use of public transportation within our county and between San Francisco and San Jose, reducing congestion on our freeways.

“Genentech Goes to Town”

“Genentech Goest to Town” supports local small businesses in its home town of South San Francisco by giving each of its 4,500 employees $25 in “GenenMoney” for a two-week period in September. The employees spend it on goods and services at participating retailers in the downtown area. Genentech employees see how convenient it is to shop near their work and inject real currency back into the city’s economy. Genentech also has a “Green Genes”  environmental program and a jobs retraining program for laid-off airport workers.


City Trees is a non-profit volunteer group in Redwood City which brought together over 700 volunteers to plant 1,000 trees in 1,000 days in Redwood City and Fair Oaks. It also educates the public on the benefits of the urban forest.

The Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo

The Chile Care Coordinating Council helps fill the pressing need for high quality child care and education for the healthy development of our children on the Peninsula.

The Community Environmental Education Program of the Jefferson Union High School District

The Community Environmental Education Program invites 50-60 students annually to participate in an intense, full-time, one-semester course of environmental awareness and community involvement.

The Environment Committee of the Jefferson Elementary School District

The Environment Committee of the Jefferson Elementary School District formulated a comprehensive set of policies for waste management, purchasing procedures, environmental safety, energy and water conservation, integrated pest management, environmental education, and hazardous substances.


Sustainability Awards

The Bread Project

The Bread Project of South San Francisco is a vocational training program that teaches the baking trade to people who have been incarcerated, are on parole, youth-at-risk, people in recovery programs, immigrants, women and minorities.

The Bread Project gives participants a useful trade as well as encouragement to learn valuable life skills such as resume writing and job preparedness. The Bread Project students attend a free nine-week program where representatives from the San Francisco Baking Institute teach them to bake bread, pastries, cakes, and to decorate cakes.

The Bread Project opened its doors in South San Francisco in January 2001, and since then over 80 people have enrolled in the program with 98% completing the course. Many graduates have found jobs in the food industry and an astounding 70% have retained jobs in the field.

Emma’s Eco Clean

Emma’s Eco Clean, founded on Earth Day in 1999, is a women-owned cleaning cooperative providing residential and commercial cleaning throughout San Mateo County. They provide a least-toxic alternative to cleaning that responds to the desire for an environmentally friendly and healthy way to clean. Emma’s Eco Clean began with five founding members and has since grown to fifteen worker-owners; all participate in the administration of the business in addition to providing cleaning services. All members are immigrant women from Mexico and Central America and mostly reside in East Palo Alto.

Emma’s Eco Clean is very active throughout the community and participates in many health fairs as well as Earth Day Celebrations. Monica Norley, Business Manager of Emma’s Eco Clean believes this business will greatly influence an extremely toxic industry at a local, regional and possibly national level.

jZ Cool Eatery and Catering Company

Jesse Cool has 27 years of experience in the food service and restaurant industry and regularly supports sustainable practices by using as much locally, organically grown products as possible. For example, the meats used at jZ Cool come from Niman Ranch, which uses no growth hormones and raises its meat sustainably. Additionally jZ Cool Eatery and Catering Company is very aware of the importance of recycling. Cans, plastic, bottles, cardboard, paper products from office use to guest checks are recycled or come from recycled products. Within the restaurant, service ware, trays, plates, flatware and glasses, etc. are reused, employees and customers are encouraged to conserve electricity by turning off unnecessary lights, and customers are provided with heavy plastic to go containers that can be used again and again.

jZ Cool Eatery and Catering Company is a unique and socially responsible restaurant. She has made great strides in cutting waste and contributing to a healthy local and global environment. In addition to jZ Cool Eatery and Catering Company, Cool also owns and operates Flea St. Cafà ©, also in Menlo Park.


RecycleWorks, a program of San Mateo County ” is your one stop shop for finding our about recycling programs and opportunities. RecycleWorks offers a hotline (1-888-442-2666) and website that put you in touch with companies that recycle or reuse things like appliances, furniture or computers. It also provides listings of where to purchase earth friendly products such as cleaners and paper products ” a wealth of information about recycling, reusing and reducing the products you commonly use. Also found on the website are the recycling policies and programs for most of the cities within San Mateo County.

RecycleWorks has created many other programs as well including the Green Building program, encouraging cities throughout the county to learn, discuss and implement green building concepts. It encourages cities to adopt green building policies. In conjunction with the San Mateo County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Sustainable San Mateo County, they are cosponsoring the first annual Green Building Award for outstanding examples of sustainable building in our county.

RecycleWorks recently coordinated a bicycle reuse project, at which volunteer mechanics refurbished abandoned and donated bicycles, which were then distributed to nonprofits and county residents who could not afford new bikes. RecycleWorks has also helped to establish and promote several sites for recycling electronic waste, developed information for the public to use to reduce their junk mail, and offered a tour of solar homes.

RecycleWorks also has a dedicated group of volunteers who are trained as Master Composters and who do regular outreach and instruction on composting and worm composting.

Honorable Mention: Lunardi’s Supermarket

Lunardi’s Supermarket owns and operates seven Bay Area locations, and in May 2002, installed an on-site solar electric power and lighting system at its Burlingame Store. That makes Lunardi’s, Burlingame one of the nation’s first grocery stores to introduce solar energy as its primary power source. Lunardi’s Burlingame store is an example of sustainable thinking and a prototype that other supermarket chains can emulate both locally and nationwide.

Honorable Mention: Menlo Vacuum and Fix-it

Menlo Vacuum and Fix-it is a clever shop where the smallest appliance can be repaired. In a time where the easiest thing to do is throw broken appliances away, Menlo Vacuum and Fix-It has the solution to make appliances last longer. They have saved spare parts for over 20 years and maintain a reputation for being able to fix anything. “We repair everything but the break of day.” A clever line, but when you are able to add a few years to a favorite appliance, and keep it from the local landfill, you become aware of the value Menlo Vacuum and Fix-it adds to the community.

Honorable Mention: San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Foundation

The San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Foundation understands that parks and open space are a vital part of the natural, social and economic components of a sustainable community. The foundation is committed to preserving and improving county parks for the benefit of the public, and is comprised of a group of citizens who have built a strong constituency that cares for, advocates for, and supports our local parks. Organized in 1998 and under the direction of Executive Director, Julia Bott, the foundation has raised over $1 million. The funding has fostered improvements to playgrounds and day camps and has also been used to build recycling centers in the parks. The foundation is also responsible for preserving native habitats to maintain the wildlife and eco-systems throughout the county.


Sustainability Awards

Evelyn Taylor

Evelyn Taylor was honored for her abiding dedication to providing equal educational opportunities to young people. It is clear that the overall sustainability of any society depends on the education of its youth. As principal of North Shoreview School in San Mateo with a 70% minority enrollment and many disadvantaged children, and as co-founder of Turnbull Learning Academy, a school with a 95% minority population, Evelyn Taylor went the extra mile to give all her students the opportunity to succeed. She introduced the “Efficacy” program to train everyone on campus how to deal with the diversity of backgrounds among her students. She arranged for Stanford University to share its education expertise with her faculty, and she found unique ways to get minority parents interested in the education of their children. Evelyn realized early on that her students could not learn if they were not properly fed, housed, and clothed, so she connected with Samaritan House and opened up her school’s gymnasium as a site for the distribution of clothing and hot meals five nights a week. She further invited Samaritan House to sponsor the North Central College Institute, a highly structured after-school program geared to putting students on the fast track to college starting in the third grade. Currently, Evelyn is director of Homework Central, a program based in local San Mateo churches which tutors students in North Central San Mateo who are bused everyday to schools outside the community.

Coyote Point Museum

Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education wins the award for teaching people of all ages about San Mateo County’s unique local ecology, the global environment, and our relationship with, and impact on, the Earth. Since the museum’s inception in 1954, more than a million visitors have learned the importance of protecting the environment through hands-on exhibits, live animals, and extensive gardens. The museum offers educational experiences which enhance curricula from pre-school to college level through tours, group programs, classes, and special exhibits, both at the museum and throughout the community. The museum is often the very first place where our county’s children are exposed to the meaning and importance of sustainability.

Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club

The Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club is recognized for its efforts to help disadvantaged youth between the ages of six to eighteen realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. The sustainability of any society ultimately rests with its youth. Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club provides an array of educational, recreational, and social activities both after-school and during school intersession hours. The Club plays the role of surrogate parent to many of its members. It provides homework assistance, helps develop self-esteem and confidence, and encourages participation in activities that promote positive growth. The Club operates facilities in San Mateo and Daly City which employ a total of 16 youth professionals who are experienced in the areas of teaching, coaching, fitness training, life skills counseling, conflict resolution, and working with low-income and at-risk youth and their families.

Peninsula Habitat for Humanity

Peninsula Habitat for Humanity is being honored for its continuing efforts to build quality, affordable, ownership housing through volunteer efforts in long-term partnership with qualified families in San Mateo County. Shelter is a basic human need, thus a sustainable society makes sure that safe, affordable housing is available to all its citizens. Peninsula Habitat for Humanity brings the local community together to build houses for, and with, families with very low incomes. To date, Peninsula Habitat has built 44 single-family and condominium homes in San Mateo County and hopes to build 200 homes in the next five years. Individuals, congregations, organizations, cities, and corporations donate land, building materials, labor, and funds. Through teamwork, differences in culture, race, religion, and economic status become less important. The completed houses are sold to families who are expected to put in at least 500 hours of “sweat equity” working on their houses and the houses of others, and who are pre-qualified for their ability to pay back a zero interest loan. By investing their own time and talents, family members learn how their house is built, build a deep pride of ownership, and can better maintain their home in the long run.

Susan Sommers and the Friends of the Edgewood Natural Preserve

Susan Sommers and the Friends of Edgewood Natural Preserve win the award for their contribution toward establishing and maintaining one of the premier wildlife preserves on the Peninsula. Susan Sommers, recognizing that a sustainable community protects its precious natural resources so that they can be enjoyed by future generations, has worked for 25 years to document and preserve the unique biological diversity of Edgewood Park and Nature Preserve in San Carlos. In the late sixties, Susan compiled an extensive list of the park’s flora and discovered that several of Edgewood’s plants were on a list of rare and endangered species prepared by the California Native Plant Society. Her plant list plus aerial photos she took gave the State Fish & Game officials the documentation they needed to confirm Edgewood’s unique vegetation and diversity. In 1969, Susan became upset with the intrusion of off-road vehicles and motorcycles at Edgewood and asked state officials to bar their access. She also launched a personal campaign to educate others about Edgewood’s unique ecology and history, so by the time the county proposed developing a golf course on the site, she had brought awareness to many groups. The battle to prevent development of the golf course continued for several years, but finally in 1993, Edgewood was designated a natural preserve, and Susan became involved in creating a Master Plan for resource management of the park.

When it became apparent that the county did not have sufficient funding and staff to maintain the preserve without volunteer help, a group of concerned citizens formed the non-profit Friends of Edgewood Natural Preserve which has dedicated itself to protecting the native habitat at Edgewood for the past eight years. The Friends run a docent program, habitat restoration program, community outreach, and a trail patrol program. They lead wildflower walks at Edgewood every weekend in the Spring, and work to control the spread of non-native species and protect the natural flora year round.

Honorable Mention: Opportunities Industrialization Center West (OICW)

OICW received an Honorable Mention for its vocational training programs for minority and disadvantaged people in San Mateo County. OICW contributes to sustainability by its emphasis on the social well-being and economic vitality of San Mateo County.


Sustainability Awards

City Center Plaza, Redwood City

The City Center Plaza is a model mixed-use, transit-oriented development that combines affordable housing, retail, educational, and child-care uses all in one complex. City Center Plaza was developed through an effective public-private partnership between the Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, a non-profit housing developer; the Raiser Organization, a for-profit commercial development company; the City of Redwood City; and the Redwood City Redevelopment Agency.

Jim Johnson

A streamkeeper of San Francisquito Creek, he worked tirelessly to clean up this creek. He founded Friends of San Francisquito Creek, a citizen’s group devoted to raising awareness of the creek’s community value.

Peninsula Open Space Trust

This well known group, under the direction of Executive Director Audrey Rust, has saved some 40,000 acres of open space and natural habitat in San Mateo County over the past 23 years.

The Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel

The Westin SFO is an example of a business in San Mateo County that has adopted many environmentally responsible procedures in its operations.

Honorable Mention: Patrick Burt and Acteron

Patrick Burt and Acteron, a metal plating company in San Carlos, received Honorable Mention for their dedicated efforts to make this typically high-polluting industry into a more environmentally benign one.


Sustainability Awards

San Mateo’s North Central Goal Directed Action Team

The North Central Neighborhood of San Mateo is a multicultural, lower-income, diverse, high-density community with a multitude of problems. The North Central Goal Directed Action Team represents a unique approach to solving safety and community preservation issues in the neighborhood through the use of interdepartmental work teams. The team acknowledges that specific issues cannot be effectively addressed without consideration of the whole neighborhood and everyone with a stake in the outcome.

The Team consists of staff from Neighborhood Improvement and Housing; Code Enforcement; the Police Department; Parks and Recreation; Planning; Building Safety; Public Works; Fire; Library; a Community Improvement Coordinator; and a representative from the resident-based Home Association of North Central San Mateo. They develop programs and projects addressing five goals: Property preservation; safety; image; neighborhood empowerment; and youth development. Specific approaches include a block-by-block strategy focused on maintenance and law enforcement needs; working with the neighbors to develop esthetic and planning design concepts that enhance the area; and community outreach to residents and organizations concerning quality of life issues. This program is a model of sustainability by showing how communities can come together to plan and implement solutions for the well being of everyone by taking into account all the various elements of an area and incorporating them into long-term problem solving.

Paul Gardner and Whole House Building Supply

Paul Gardner has contributed greatly to the City of East Palo Alto through his involvement with the East Palo Alto Historical and Agricultural Society; the Weeks Street Community Garden, and EPA CAN DO. All his work, both local and regional, has been infused with the values of ecological sustainability.

In 1991, Paul – a general contractor and an avid environmentalist – became distressed at the tremendous amount of building materials being hauled to the dump by contractors from each construction project, so he began to salvage and offer for sale materials and fixtures that would otherwise go to the landfill. He also began circulating a advocate to Bay Area builders noting the date and location of house demolitions, and advertising salvaged items for sale and for free. Thus began a new business – Whole House Building Supply – which now includes a customer base of over 5,000 throughout the Bay Area. Paul recently began storing salvaged items at a warehouse in East Palo Alto and has hired local residents to run the warehouse and help remove items from homes slated for demolition. What began as Paul’s individual commitment to recycling and sustainability, has flourished into a business which has transformed a wasteful industry practice into an opportunity for education and a demonstration of the principles of sustainability.

New Start Furniture Fund

Phil Van Poetsch founded New Start Furniture Fund to pick up, store, and make available donated furniture to qualified families in need. The Fund is based on the idea that basic furniture such as a chair to sit on or a bed to sleep in are unattainable luxuries for some individuals in the community while others have an excess of such items. New Start picks up donations from the more fortunate members of the community and makes them available to the less fortunate.

New Start is a community supported, non-profit organization that works closely with other non-profits and social service agencies such as Peninsula Habitat for Humanity and Families in Transition. It also assists battered women and helps formerly homeless people rebuild their lives. All recipients must first qualify by fulfilling their commitment to the referring agency and meet or exceed rigid criteria prior to referral. Upon qualifying, recipients are invited to go “shopping” at the Fund’s Menlo Park warehouse, where they are treated with dignity and given a choice of furniture selections to completely furnish their homes. They even have the option of receiving expert design assistance. The New Start Furniture Fund fulfills a need in our community by recycling usable furniture to those who are ready to help themselves.

San Mateo County Office of Education’s Outdoor Education Program

The Outdoor Education Program provides a week-long residential environmental education curriculum and a unique social and personal learning experience for over 5,000 fifth and sixth grade students and their teachers each year at Jones Gulch in La Honda. It has been in existence for 32 years, and in that time, has educated over 130,000 students.

The goal of the program is to develop students’ knowledge about the environment, appreciation of nature, and the importance of their involvement as citizens in an increasingly interdependent world. Learning is active and involving through first hand experience. An integral part of the program is the Sustainable Living Center where students get hands-on lessons in organic gardening, composting and greenhouse activities. Students also participate in a nature lab with animals. In a great example of student mentoring, every year 500 high school students accompany the fifth and sixth graders on all activities and live with them in the cabins.

San Mateo County’s Outdoor Education Program is an excellent example of what sustainable living is all about and an excellent approach to teaching sustainable principles.

David Schooley

David Schooley is known as “Mr. San Bruno Mountain” His efforts span 30 years to preserve San Bruno Mountain with its unique ecosystem and rare and endangered species. He has consistently sustained this activity in multiple arenas: as a participant in political debate over development of the mountain; as a poet, writer, and historian; as a tireless educator of the young and old about the natural wonders to be encountered on the hundreds of hikes he leads; and as a hands-on worker to restore the native habitat of the mountain and to eradicate invasive species. He was a founding member of the Committee to Save San Bruno Mountain and is still a leader in San Bruno Mountain Watch. He has authored numerous articles and pamphlets demonstrating careful research and thorough knowledge, and has worked closely with the Native Americans of the area to protect significant cultural and archeological sites.

David Schooley has demonstrated sustainable thinking through his long-term and ecologically oriented commitment toward saving a precious island of open space in the middle of dense human habitation for the continued enjoyment of future generations.

Honorable Mention: BFI

BFI started the first and largest residential recycling and yard waste collection program in the county and is actively encouraging businesses to increase their recycling efforts. BFI is a major corporate sponsor of activities in virtually every city of the county, ranging from health care to education to public parks to countless projects that improve our quality of life. But, besides issuing much appreciated financial support, BFI is a leader in deploying its managers and employees to work in many community efforts ranging from Christmas in April to the American Heart Association. Through its recycling and community support efforts, BFI is a vital component of the overall sustainability of San Mateo County.

Honorable Mention: Committee for Green Foothills

The Committee for Green Foothills has worked for nearly forty years to protect and preserve the farms, wildlands, and coastal lands of San Mateo County through education, planning, and legislative advocacy. They have been effective in limiting development along the San Mateo Coast by helping to pass the Coastal Initiative, the Coastal Act of 1976, and the San Mateo County Local Coastal Plan. They also made it possible for thousands of people every year to enjoy the redwoods in Pescadero Creek County ParkÃ’an area that would have been drowned had a dam been built that was proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1960s. The Committee for Green Foothills contributes to the overall sustainability of the County by holding to the long-range view, and by empowering community members to protect open space and farmland through sensible land use planning.

The Human Investment Project

The Human Investment Project (HIP) provides affordable alternatives to the high cost of housing on the Peninsula. The Homesharing Program links people who have housing to share with those seeking housing. The Self-Sufficiency Program provides single parents with subsidized rent and utilities while they live in a HIP-owned or managed property, enroll in an education or job-training program, and obtain employment with an adequate income to support their families. The Housing Opportunity Program provides time-limited rental scholarships and support services to low-income families transitioning from welfare to employment. The Home Equity Conversion Program helps seniors turn their home value into spendable cash so they can remain independent in their homes.

HIP is an innovative and effective non-profit organization that sees the clear connections between safe and affordable housing and the overall quality of life in San Mateo County.

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