REDWOOD CITY — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Sustainable San Mateo County debuted an initiative Tuesday to help citizens, businesses and government agencies adopt environmentally friendly methods and technologies.

Local officials, including Redwood City Mayor Barbara Pierce and County Supervisor Jerry Hill, gathered at the Green Building Exchange on Main Street in Redwood City to promote a new "Green Guide" to sustainable practices.

Ruth Peterson, board chair for Sustainable San Mateo County, which produces an annual report card on the environmental practices of local cities, said eco-friendly practices — switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, for instance — can also save money.

"Doing the right thing comes with a monetary benefit," said Peterson, whose group announced a new program, Pathway to Sustainable Cities, aimed at helping cities implement "green" policies.

Tuesday's conference included panel discussions and a "green" resource fair that showed off energy-efficient home insulation, flooring alternatives, a soy-based gel for stripping finish offfloors and furniture, water-conserving toilets and other products.

Pierce said the "Green Guide" and the services at Green Building Exchange are not meant to force change on people. Instead, it's intended to help those who want to go green figure out how to do it.

"How many of you like to be told what to do?" Pierce asked the audience. "Neither do I, (and) neither do my colleagues on the City Council."

Annie Kraemer and Joan Wachter, with the real-estate firm of Coldwell Banker in San Mateo, attended the conference to glean information they can share with their clients and use to market their properties.

"If we learn about this stuff, we can pass it on, and everybody wins," Kraemer said.

Kraemer said Realtors can use energy-efficient tips when getting a house ready for market to make it more attractive to buyers. They can also learn how to get an energy audit for a house and advertise its energy efficiency, she said.

The "Green Guide" features five sections: energy efficiency and conservation; solar initiatives; clean-air transportation; a ClimateSmart program to track carbon emissions; and green business programs.

For more information on PG&E's environmental programs and Sustainable San Mateo County, visit http://www.pge.

com/environment or http://www.sustainablesanmateo.org. For a copy of the "Green Guide," visit the Green Building Council or send an email to rect@pge.com.

Staff writer Aaron Kinney can be reached at 650-348-4302 or at akinney@sanmateocountytimes.com.