Las Vegas is the last place you’d ever expect to go green. A dizzying buffet of high-rise hotels, boisterous tourists, casinos, clubs, and lights flashing all around, the city of sin is hardly a picture of eco-friendliness.
The CityCenter—the newest addition to the Strip—promises to change this, however. A 76-acre city-within-a-city, the CityCenter will house hotels and residences, restaurants, and a $40 million public fine art program. Currently under construction and scheduled to open its centerpiece building, Aria, by the end of 2009, the CityCenter is destined to be one of the world’s largest environmentally sustainable urban communities. Inhabitat reports that the CityCenter is the largest privately financed development in the history of North America vying for U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED certification. Indeed, the Center is slated to span 18 million square feet, which Inhabitat says is more square footage than all of the existing LEED-certified buildings combined.
The Center is the product of an $8-billion venture between MGM Mirage and Dubai World, and the goal is to make the process as green as possible. The project's developers have enlisted hundreds of consultants to ensure a sustainable approach to the project, and the MGM Mirage has educated over 10,000 construction workers and craftsmen on green building techniques. Other green bullet points include recycling construction waste, employing eco-sustainable materials, emphasizing natural lighting throughout, and incorporating materials from the imploded Boardwalk Hotel, which once stood where the CityCenter soon will. Also noteworthy is the MGM Mirage’s implementation of custom designed low-flow water fixtures, which will help save some 76 millions gallons of water per day.
Having recently returned from a long weekend in Vegas, which I enjoyed (I’ll even go so far as to say a bit too much) but nonetheless came out of feeling overwhelmed by the overbuilt indulgence of it all, part of me cringes at the thought of seeing yet another set of oversized buildings pierce the skyline. But then I'm reminded that if the CityCenter weren’t being built, chances are that some other building would be going up in its place, and that building wouldn’t necessarily have green in mind. So I look forward to seeing what this venture brings to Vegas and can only hope that all future projects will follow its, um, LEED.
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