SAN RAMON -- The Bishop Ranch office complex has achieved the key environmental and energy efficient LEED certification for 37 office buildings -- the equivalent of six big shopping malls -- the owners of the San Ramon business center said Tuesday.

The 37 buildings at Bishop Ranch that have been LEED certified total about 6 million square feet. That's deemed to be one of the most ambitious projects for LEED -- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design --ever undertaken by a business complex in the United States, according to the project's owner, Sunset Development.

"When people come to work, they want to leave their cars at home," said Alex Mehran, CEO and President of Sunset Development. "They want to breathe the purest indoor air possible."

The 6 million square feet of buildings that received the certification represent 10 percent of the new square footage that was certified in California during 2012. About 30,000 people work at Bishop Ranch, which has about 600 tenants.

"This will help Bishop Ranch with its marketing, absolutely," said Edward Del Beccaro, managing director of the Walnut Creek office of Transwestern, a commercial realty firm. "LEED certification appeals to Fortune 1000 and to non-profit tenants."

Many of Bishop Ranch's buildings exceeded the minimum criteria for LEED, a certification system that measures how well a building or community performs in terms of energy savings, water efficiency, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and other benchmarks.


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"People feel good coming to work here because we're committed to making our environment a beautiful and healthy one," Mehran said. "They also feel good knowing we're managing the facilities as efficiently as possible."

Some large tenants at Bishop Ranch touted the development's LEED status as a benefit for their operations and employees.

PG&E during 2012 signed some large leases that enabled the utility move its gas control center and other operations to Bishop Ranch, along with hundreds of employees.

"Bishop Ranch's facilities are helping PG&E foster greater team collaboration and communication," said ," said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E executive vice president, gas operations.

San Francisco-based PG&E believes the Bishop Ranch location will help the utility with safe operation of its natural gas system. Stavropoulos also said the office park meets PG&E's environmental goals.

General Electric, which has leased space in Bishop Ranch for a software headquarters for the company, said the environmental benefits could help GE attract and retain software engineers.

"GE recognizes its employees as the backbone of the company and strives to provide a healthy and positive work environment, ensuring our employees remain with us for a long time," said Bill Ruh, vice president, GE Global Software Headquarters.

Contact George Avalos at 408-373-3556 or 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.