Friday, Aug. 6, 2010 | 3 a.m.
MGM Resorts International last month announced the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, the largest international program evaluating sustainable hotel operations, had awarded 12 MGM Resorts properties a Green Key designation for “green” business operations.
MGM said the resorts are the first in Nevada and Michigan to receive Green Key ratings, which are designed specifically for evaluating commitment to sustainable green operations in the hospitality industry. MGM said Green Key has more than 1,400 member hotels and is the foremost green ranking, certification and audit program in North America.
Competitors such as Harrah’s Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands have also highlighted their commitment to sustainable development and operations.
Las Vegas Sands in March said its combined Venetian, Sands Expo and Palazzo, which in 2008 received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction Silver certification, comprise the largest LEED building in the world.
In launching the Sands Eco 360 degrees Global Sustainable Development program, it was announced that the Venetian and Sands Expo center had achieved LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Green Key evaluates hotels on a scale of one to five Keys, with five Keys being the highest ranking. Results are based on an evaluation of the hotel’s sustainability efforts.
Green Key member properties are listed atgreenkeyglobal.com, a resource for environmentally conscious travelers. Green Key rankings are recognized by major travel services including AAA, Travelocity and Expedia.
“This is the first time that our operations have been placed under this kind of microscope and the first time that our company’s everyday commitment to green practices has been formally validated,” said Cindy Ortega, senior vice president of energy and environmental services for MGM Resorts. “We see this rating as quite an accomplishment, as it acknowledges our company’s commitment to sustainability, while allowing guests the ability to let environmental stewardship play a role in selecting a hotel when they travel.”
MGM Resorts properties earning five Keys were Aria and Vdara at CityCenter; four Keys: Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York and MGM Grand in Detroit. Circus Circus Las Vegas earned a three Keys designation.
Zachary Conen, spokesman for the Green Key Eco-Rating Program in the United States, said: “The leadership of MGM Resorts has seriously embraced the responsibility of reducing their properties’ environmental impact, and demonstrated from top to bottom a genuine commitment to sustainability practices. We are exceedingly impressed with the consistency of these efforts, considering the size and scope of the operations within each of these resorts.”
MGM Resorts said its approach to sustainability focuses on five goals: natural resources conservation, sustainable construction and renovation, waste management, sustainable procurement, and communication and education.
The company said that in 2009, its properties diverted more than 20,000 tons of material from landfills — from thousands of wine corks to hundreds of gallons of hydraulic oil used by the high-tech, revolving stage in the MGM Grand’s Ka Theater. The company also makes significant contributions in more mainstream recycling efforts and represents 21 percent of the glass recycled in Clark County.
Other recent initiatives at MGM Resorts include retrofitting lighting with energy-saving fixtures, implementation of variable-frequency motors that conserve energy, upgrading boilers to more efficient models, landscaping with drought-tolerant plants and installing water-saving, low-flow plumbing fixtures.
At MGM Resorts’ newest property, CityCenter, Aria and Vdara were each awarded the LEED Gold Certification for sustainable design and construction from the Green Building Council.