Office of Sustainability: Energy and Water (4040P)

Program Outcome Statement

Promote the conservation, planning, and management of our energy and water resources, to support a sustainable, resilient, and environmentally conscious community


The Energy and Water Section provides policy development and implementation to county ratepayers through two energy efficiency programs: the San Mateo County Energy Watch program serves municipal schools and businesses, and BayREN, which provides rebates and technical assistance for residential energy upgrades. The Section develops water conservation and reuse programs and supports groundwater assessment and management, as well as stormwater program implementation and reporting in compliance with state permit requirements.

San Mateo County Energy Watch Program Cost Per Kilowatt Hour Saved

Number of Energy and Water Saving Library Kits Borrowed from Libraries Countywide

Percent of kWh Goal

Story Behind Performance FY 2018-19 Mid-Year Update 

The San Mateo County Energy Watch is a grant-funded program between the County and the City/ County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG). The program targets buildings and operations with inefficient use of electricity and natural gas in the following sectors: municipalities and other public agencies such as water districts, K-12 public schools, and small businesses. The program identifies energy-efficiency installations and retrofit project opportunities, as well as rebates and financing (such as on-bill financing through PG&E) that will favorably result in maximum energy savings. Program challenges include: changes in California Public Utility Commission goals and measurement of those goals, fewer rebates, new or changed legislation, changes in PG&E utility program structure, program partner staff transitions, and the upfront cost of making large energy upgrades for customers. In calendar year 2016 through 2018, the recently-completed program cycle, the San Mateo County Energy Watch Program exceeded its kilowatt hour energy savings goal, achieving 9,868,539 kWh or 134.8% of the program goal. To provide a comparison, according to the EPA, that's equivalent to the electricity use of 1,200 homes for one year.  
For the San Mateo County Energy Watch program cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) saved, a lower number represents a more cost-effective use of funds. For fiscal year 2017-18, the cost per kWh was .35 cents per kilowatt hour.
The program for Energy and Water Saving library kits, available at every library countywide began April 2017 and completed its first (full) fiscal year 2017-18 with approximately 350 kits borrowed. The annual goal set for fiscal year 2018-19 is 400 kits borrowed.

Future Priorities

  • Collaborate with other County Departments to address sustainable management of stormwater and groundwater, explore the use of recycled water, track success of a new water conservation pilot launched in 2018, and evaluate a water conservation program for County facilities.
  • Meet the energy-saving and participation goals of the SMCEW and BayREN programs, successfully launch the new 2019 program, and transition to new program model approach, which leverages financing and evaluates saving based on actual metered savings.

Author: Kim Springer, Resource Conservation Program Manager  Contact Email:  Last Updated: 02/08/19