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 our Sustainability Awards as well as the Green Building Award. This year the Green Building Award is cosponsored by SSMC, Peninsula Clean Energy and the American Institute of Architects’ San Mateo County chapter (AIASMC). The Ruth Peterson Award is presented at the discretion of SSMC’s Board of Directors. Read on to learn more about the eligibility and criteria for each award.


2024 GREEN BUILDING AWARD Nomination Form

Sustainability Awards (Nominations due November 30, 2023)

Click here for the Nomination Form

Read our Press Release

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
  • Education institution
  • Individual youth or youth group


  • The nominee’s work MUST have a local impact within San Mateo County. A nominee who lives or is based outside the county, and whose work has an impact inside the county, IS eligible for an award.
  • A nominee who lives or is based inside the county, and whose work has an impact ONLY outside the county, is NOT eligible for an award, unless the nominee’s work has a positive national or global implication.
  • If the nominee has received a Sustainability Award in the past, the Awards Committee will determine if enough significant improvement has been made to be eligible for a new award.
  • Nominees for the Youth Sustainability Award must live or attend school in grades 9-12 in San Mateo County. One youth must be designated as the liaison for a group.


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

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

Green Building Award (Nominations due January 12, 2024)

Click here for the Nomination Form

Read our Press Release

This year, Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC), Peninsula Clean Energy and the American Institute of Architects’ San Mateo County chapter (AIASMC) are cosponsoring the Green Building Award, which has been awarded every year since 2003. This award is given to a project that demonstrates exemplary green, sustainable design and construction, and a commitment to electrification or decarbonization efforts. It also supports environmentally friendly design in architecture and recognizes the architects, builders and owners of these green buildings.


The Green Building Award is open to any building constructed within the last five years that is located in San Mateo County. Remodels and additions are also eligible to apply for the award. The project must have completed its final inspection by Friday, January 12, 2024. Previous nominees may apply if their original projects have had additional, substantial green improvements or additional documentation is available. The Green Building Award winner will be selected by an independent panel of recognized professionals in the disciplines of green and sustainable construction.

Required Submittals

In addition to submitting a nomination form, applicants must submit all Required Submittals and any Optional Submittals to greenbuildingaward@sustainablesanmateo.org. All submissions must be received digitally. Links to online documents are preferred over email attachments. If you require assistance, please call 650-918-1992 or email info@sustainablesanmateo.org. Note: By submitting the application, you authorize Sustainable San Mateo County, Peninsula Clean Energy and American Institute of Architects’ San Mateo County chapter the right to use the submitted materials for any promotional purpose.

  • Site plan with north arrow
  • Floor plans
  • Images (including notable features, as appropriate). Remodel projects must submit “before” and “after” photographs.
  • A written description of how this project has incorporated the environmental performance criteria listed below.

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
  • Energy models
  • Commissioning, HERS or third-party verification report(s)
  • Percent on-site renewable energy generation
  • Amount of salvaged, recycled or sustainably harvested material used