We developed a new representation of local amino acid environments in protein structures called the Side-chain Depth Environment (SDE). An SDE defines a local structural environment of a residue considering the coordinates and the depth of amino acids that locate in the vicinity of the side-chain centroid of the residue. SDEs are general enough that similar SDEs are found in protein structures with globally different folds. Using SDEs, we developed a procedure called PRESCO (Protein Residue Environment SCOre) for selecting native or near-native models from a pool of computational models. The procedure searches similar residue environments observed in a query model against a set of representative native protein structures to quantify how native-like SDEs in the model are. When benchmarked on commonly used computational model datasets, our PRESCO compared favorably with the other existing scoring functions in selecting native and near-native models.