Eligibility and Criteria for Awards

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

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

TransForm 2019 awardees

Sustainability Award

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

  • Individual
  • Nonprofit
  • Business
  • Government agency
  • Educational institution


  • The nominee’s work MUST have a local impact within San Mateo County.
  • If the nominee lives outside the county or is based outside the county, but the work for which they are being nominated is inside the county, they are eligible for an award.
  • If the nominee lives inside the county or is based inside the county, and the impact of their work is inside the county or has positive national or global implication, they are eligible for an award.
  • If the nominee lives inside the county, but their work has an impact only outside the county, they are NOT eligible for an award.
  • If the nominee has received a Sustainability Award in the past, the Awards Committee will determine if enough significant improvement has been made to be eligible for a new award.


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

  • Key accomplishments the address the three “E’s” of sustainability: the environment, social equity and the economy in San Mateo County
  • Future and long-term oriented
  • Connects ecological and resource limits to business success
  • Regional as well as local in scope
  • Cognizant that everything is interconnected
  • Concerned with creating diverse and balance communities
  • Inclusive of social equity and well-being
  • Supportive of public involvement in community decisions

Other Considerations

  • Organization’s mission
  • Metrics that demonstrate sustainability progress
  • Environmental footprint (recycling and waste reduction, green building facilities, energy efficiency and water conservation, public transit incentives)
  • Paying a living wage and benefits to all employees
  • Promoting a diverse workforce
  • Partnerships and involvement of stakeholders in decision-making
  • Healthy funding that assures continued operation
  • Recent awards or recognition
  • Goals for the future

Green Building Award

Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC) and the American Institute of Architects of San Mateo County Chapter (AIASMC) have jointly presented the Green Building Award every year since 2003.


The Green Building Award is open to any building constructed within the last five years that is located in San Mateo County. Remodels and additions are also eligible to apply for the award. Previous nominees may apply if their original projects have had additional substantial green improvements.

Required Submittals

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

Optional Submittals

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