Saturday, July 16, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Are you a green person or business looking for a new location? Come to Southern Nevada. A study released this week by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington says Las Vegas has untapped renewable energy potential. Nevada offers tax incentives for green initiatives, including no sales tax on building materials purchased for use in projects certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver or higher. LEED certifications are based on a point system that ranks buildings as Platinum, Gold, Silver or simply certified, the lowest rating. The application process varies based on whether a building is new, exists or is seeking commercial interior certification. You won’t be alone in going green. Here is a sampling of environmentally friendly facilities in the valley:
/Iris Dumuk, Special to the Sun
Springs Preserve - Platinum Certification
Springs Preserve spent years of planning and construction to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest level, on all of its buildings. The seven buildings at the preserve — the five Desert Living Centers, the Origen Experience and Guest Services buildings — met strict LEED standards for certification and earned platinum grades. Designers Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects and Luchessi, Galati Architects incorporated rammed earth walls, straw bale insulation, all green paints, fabrics, furniture and carpeting for certification. To generate power for the facilities, more than 2,200 photovoltaic panels were installed atop the covered visitors parking area.
Photo by Leila Navidi/Leila Navidi/Las Vegas Sun
Molasky Corporate Center
In downtown Las Vegas, the Molasky Corporate Center was the first Class A office building to be given the LEED Gold certification. Class A buildings represent the highest quality in their market. The 16-story, 285,000-square-foot building was over budget upon completion in 2007, costing $106 million. More than 90 percent of the structure is built with recycled steel. Its exterior design with multiple windows and higher ceilings allows more daylight. Solar panels and a sophisticated heating and cooling system built in the floor lowers the energy cost.
Photo by Ulf Buchholz/Las Vegas Sun file photo
Lexus of Las Vegas
In 2009, Lexus of Las Vegas was the first car dealership in the valley to go green and the first building in Nevada to receive LEED Gold certification for existing buildings. The dealership incorporated energy and water efficiency improvements along with recycling and waste reduction in its certification efforts. Company employees volunteered thousands of man-hours at the Springs Preserve in land restoration projects to help achieve their goals. A year later, Lexus of Henderson also earned Gold certification. The dealership was built from the ground up and decked out with an all-white-concrete parking lot for heat reduction and less energy use.
Photo by Leila Navidi
CityCenter, a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Dubai World, is the world’s largest LEED Gold certified community. All its towers have been certified, with Aria and Vdara becoming the first hotels in Las Vegas to go Gold. The property uses first energy-generation on the Strip through its 8.5 megawatt natural-gas cogeneration plant, providing efficient electricity on site, reducing emissions and using low-grade “waste heat” to provide domestic hot water. Other green efforts include water conservation technology, advanced hotel rooms with exclusive features allowing guests to “green their stay” and natural gas stretch limos.
In 2010, 12 MGM Resorts properties were awarded the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, the largest international program evaluating sustainable hotel operations.
/Sun file photos
Venetian, Sands Expo and Palazzo
Las Vegas Sands combined its properties Venetian, Sands Expo & Convention Center and Palazzo, boasting it’s the largest LEED building in the world. The properties are joined together by corridors. In 2008, the Palazzo received LEED Silver certification for new construction, then in January 2010, Sands launched its Eco 360 degrees Global Sustainable Development program, an in-house program designed to help it achieve its green initiatives, and announced that the Venetian and Sands Expo center had achieved LEED Gold certification.
Photo by Courtesy of America Nevada Company/Courtesy
Corporate Circle — Greenspun Media Group Building
Home to the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group, the Corporate Center VI building in the Corporate Circle office complex in Henderson was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2009. This was the first green project for developer American Nevada Company. Constructed with more than 30 percent of recycled materials, the interior was built with green-friendly materials including low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, carpets and highly effective air filters. The building is water efficient with a drip irrigation system and low-flow fixtures and faucets, using 43 percent less water than a typical facility its size. Solar photovoltaic panels on the parking-garage roof generate enough power to illuminate the lights in the garage.
Committed to raising environment efficiency within the media industry, Greenspun Media Group was the first media company to obtain a LEED Silver Commercial Interior Building certificate in Nevada. The building optimizes energy performance and lighting power through the use of infrared light switches in office and conference rooms, uses Energy Star labeled appliances, televisions and computer hardware. More than 30 recycling containers throughout the building give each employee an opportunity to participate in an in-house recycling program.