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CITYCENTER

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South Strip

3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

866-359-7757

website

7,000 Rooms

$159 and up double

$300-$350 per night

CITYCENTER SUSTAINABILITY

The idea that anything as massive - as epic - as CityCenter could be considered environmentally friendly is almost laughable. It's just too... big! And really, to be honest, something this gargantuan can't really be put into the Friends of The Earth category.

But short of not building it at all and letting the patch of ground underneath it return to its dusty, desert roots, the folks behind CityCenter did take unprecedented steps to make sure that it was conceived, designed, and built in the most ecologically sound way possible. And that it will continue to operate that way for years to come.

Six of the buildings in the CityCenter complex received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification. The rating system was developed by the US Green Building Council, an organization devoted to encouraging environmentally friendly building practices. Here the Aria Hotel and Casino, Aria Convention Center, Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Spa, Vdara Hotel and Spa, Veer condominium towers, and Crystals shopping complex all got the Gold rating, making it the largest development to get that kind of recognition.

They did it in a variety of different ways. It all started before the first shovel full of earth was turned during the design phase. The heavy use of glass a metal on the exteriors is more than just for sleek looks - the radiant surfaces and high performance glass reflect sunlight and so it takes less energy to cool the buildings. Sun shades were incorporated into architecture to further divert the harsh Vegas rays. Showers were invented that deliver high pressure but with one-third less water. And the water that is used is reclaimed to irrigate the low-consumption landscaping around the property.

They even built their own gas-powered generation plant to provide some of the energy for the complex. Not only does it mean that less power is drawn off the grid, but they use the heat from electricity generation to warm the water that you are taking a shower with.

During construction they focused on recycling the waste generated by building such a massive project. 93% of all construction waste was diverted from landfills including most of the Boardwalk Hotel that was torn down to make way for CityCenter. In addition, they tried to use as many materials as they could from within 500 miles of Las Vegas, therefore reducing the energy required to transport it to the site. You see that rusty stone on at the entrance of Aria? It's from Jean, Nevada, about 30 miles away.

In addition, wood inside the casino was brought in from sustainably managed forests and the carpeting and paints are designed to emit fewer toxins.

Moving forward, operations at the property will continue the sustainable mindset.

In the Crystals mall, the floors feature radiant cooling - cold water runs through pipes under your feet - allowing only the space where people are to be kept comfortable. As our guide put it, "We don't care how hot it is up by the ceiling."

At the Aria casino, a new air conditioning system was invented that pumps air into the room from the bases of the slot machines. This is much more efficient than trying to force the cool air down from the ceiling and should also improve overall air quality.

They are even encouraging good environmental practices for people coming to CityCenter.

The property has the first ever fleet of limousines powered by compressed natural gas. Twenty-six of them were designed and built from the ground up.

Throughout the property you'll find preferred parking for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles and there's even a bicycle valet to hold your two-wheeler while you are onsite.

As I said at the onset, the fact that this place even exists is probably a shock to the planet, but that a company is willing to go to these links to at least try to minimize the impact is a very good thing.

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