Green Business within the Las Vegas Casino Sector
Below, swissgreenbusiness.ch takes a look at how the city of Las Vegas and its big-name casinos have adopted green business strategies in an effort to become more sustainable.
Despite being widely known as ‘The City of Light’ (or ‘Sin City’, depending on who you talk to), the Las Vegas City Government is now powered entirely by renewable energy.
After a city-wide renewable energy project was launched in 2008, electricity consumption is now down 30%, saving $5 million a year in the process. A shift towards green energy provided by solar, geothermal and hydroelectric initiatives has also helped Vegas reach this ambitious goal a decade later in 2017.
The Renewable Energy Agreement of 2008 included all buildings and facilities owned by the City of Las Vegas such as the City Hall, fire stations, community centers, parks, lights on the streets, and waste management and treatment plants. This encompassed an area of 136 square miles in Southern Nevada.
The role of casinos in Vegas’ new green business
It is not just the city buildings cleaning up their act. Vegas’ plethora of mega casinos, which are inevitably responsible for a large chunk of the entire region’s energy consumption, have also started to go green. Below, we take a look at three major casino operators and how they have started to roll out sustainable business measures.
With a portfolio of properties including Caesars Palace, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo, Rio, Planet Hollywood, Harrah’s Las Vegas and The Quad, Caesars Entertainment is responsible for managing a sizeable portion of the Las Vegas strip.
Most notably, the group launched its ‘CodeGreen’ program in 2008, which originally focused on minimizing water and energy consumption, as well as waste output across all of their properties.
Some examples of the innovations include installing aerators in hotel and resort bathrooms to minimize water flow, low flush toilets and the installation of a giant washing machine tunnel that saves up to 30 gallons of water per room.
Caesars Entertainment also took advantage of a government-backed green building initiative which promised huge tax breaks for newly-constructed buildings that met Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). As well as a handful of new buildings which have gone green, the group has applied the same LEED standards to 13 of its existing properties in Vegas.
As a result, Caesars Entertainment has cut energy production by one-quarter in the last 7-8 years, water use by one-fifth and diverted nearly 40% of all waste from landfill sites.
Another major player on the Vegas strip to follow suit with regards to these green business strategies is MGM Resorts, the group behind MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur and several other shopping and hospitality complexes.
Out of MGM’s portfolio of properties, 12 were certified into the new ‘TripAdvisor GreenLeaders’ program, which reviews establishment’s eco-friendly initiatives and then ranks properties in relation to others (a bit like TripAdvisor’s ranked listings based on customer satisfaction). Two of GMG Resort’s properties, hotels Aria and Vdara, were both awarded a Platinum designation, making it into the top 10% of all properties.
As part of their sustainability program, Green Advantage, MGM was also quick to take advantage of the LEED certified building tax breaks, with their new CityCenter Complex meeting these green requirements. The complex includes Aria and Vdara hotels, a 700,000-square-foot conference center and a shopping mall.
Finally, we take a look at the green business solutions adopted by Sands Corporation, another large casino operator that, most notably, owns and runs The Venetian and The Palazzo.
In fact, last year it was these two resorts were the first of their type to achieve APEX/ASTM Level 2 certification (other venues around the world have only been awarded Level 1). This certification takes into account the sustainability of various aspects of the business and facilities such as audiovisuals, transportation, meeting spaces and hospitality services for guests. In 2009, The Palazzo Las Vegas was also the corporation’s first green building constructed according to the LEED rating system.
Sands Corporation has also taken a focused approach over the last few years in improving renewable energy consumption rates in both Vegas and throughout its portfolio of other casino resorts around the world.
For example, 680 solar photovoltaic panels were installed on top of the Team Member parking garage in Las Vegas, resulting in 116 kW (DC) of electricity being generated. Elsewhere, The Palazzo is now home to one of the largest rooftop solar-thermal systems in America, with the technology converting energy from the sun into electricity to heat water for swimming pools, spas, and other uses in the hotel downstairs. GE also played a role in developing a custom LED candelabra bulb for energy-efficient lighting.
This is all part of The Sands ECO360 Global Sustainability strategy that aims to create “better, greener buildings, and also raise the standards for the resorts already in operation while integrating conservation and recycling into daily work.”
Green Business – In Conclusion
What Las Vegas has seen over the last decade is a conscious and collective effort, not only from city authorities but also major casino operators, to become greener and more sustainable.
This has been exemplified in both the construction of new LEED standard buildings and environmentally-friendly practices that have been implemented to ensure those buildings can stay green in the long-run.
These measures encompass everything from clean energy production and usage, better waste management, improved corporate training of staff members resulting in better awareness, the installation of more energy-efficient appliances and heating systems, more environmentally-responsible meetings and events and more.
The City of Las Vegas – that is, city buildings and facilities like street lights, fire stations and parks owned by the local government – recently became only the second city authority in the entire country to run entirely on renewable energy.
However, Las Vegas today remains as America’s ‘Sin City’ rather than ‘Green City’ – and with over 40 million people visiting each year for leisure, there’s no danger that title is going to change anytime soon. Despite this major accomplishment for the Las Vegas city government, the energy consumed by these buildings and facilities is only a small proportion of the energy consumption of the overall city.
Only time will tell whether the overall city and casino industry will be able to continue and build upon their green business efforts over the next decade.
Green Biz: https://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/02/14/las-vegas-green-meetings-caesars-mgm-sands
Online Casino Buddy: http://online-casino-buddy.com/
Green Hotelier: http://www.greenhotelier.org/our-themes/responsible-procurement/