Many visitors to Las Vegas and other US casinos don't realize that beneath the neon there's been a green building revolution building for much of the last decade, with casinos such as Red Rock Casino, the Palazzo and the City Center complex some of the world's largest green buildings.
Green casinos don't just help the planet but they can add profits to the companies that build and operate them.
Tax incentives and grants can significantly reduce building costs and many green techniques such as using solar panels, native plants and water recycling and purification systems can pay for themselves over time.
The day-to-day operations of casinos (such as keeping all those slot machines whirling) consume huge amounts of energy, especially in Las Vegas where air conditioning enormous buildings is a necessity not a luxury.
The Palazzo Las Vegas was one of the first casinos and world’s largest green building when it received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate from the US Green Building Council for its hotel operations.
The City Center Las Vegas project received the LEED certificate as well when construction was completed in 2010.
Green casinos and hotels use shower heads, compact fluorescent bulbs ad LED lighting, and energy efficient appliances, as well as simpler practices like not changing the sheets daily unless a guest requests it and encourage the re-use of towels and linens.
Las Vegas as a whole is surprisingly green as well, with incentives for homeowners to incorporate native plants into their landscaping instead of grass and other water saving initiatives.
These programs have cut overall annual water usage has dropped by about 20 billion gallons annually despite the fact the population of Las Vegas continues to grow.
Being green and energy efficient will eventually produce profits for casinos in addition to the normal casino games, as even just cutting energy costs by 1-2% per year can result in millions of dollars in extra profits each year.