The CityCenter: Las Vegas’ Sustainable Gamble


It’s hard to spend time in Las Vegas and not shudder at least a little bit at the thought of how much energy and water is being wasted on, well, everything. The Las Vegas CityCenter, scheduled to be unveiled next week at the National Clean Energy Summit, aims to change that by becoming an $8.5 billion, 18-million-square-foot sustainable development.

When completed later this year, the CityCenter will feature a 4,004-room gaming resort, multiple non-gaming luxury hotels, residential luxury buildings, and a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district. Standard Vegas fare, except for the fact that the MGM Mirage and Infinity World Development Corp. venture is seeking LEED Silver or Gold certification. The project will also use specially designed water fixtures to save up to 39% of water indoors and 60% outdoors, the first fleet of compressed natural gas-powered limousines, an 8.5 megawatt cogeneration plant to provide 10% of its electricity, and energy-efficient HVAC, lighting and room controls. In the end, the CityCenter will save the equivalent of 7,700 homes’ worth of energy compared to standard Vegas developments.

Would it be better if the CityCenter wasn’t being built at all? Of course, but chances are it will play up its green credentials to differentiate it from other gaming and hotel complexes. That means guests who might not otherwise pay attention to sustainability will have the chance to learn about saving energy and water and how it doesn’t necessarily mean living in a dark cabin (now that they’ve lost all their money at the tables).