11
Apr
08

World’s Largest Green Building: the Palazzo Las Vegas

Palazzo Las Vegas

Nevada’s governor Jim Gibbons was there, and so was U.S. Department of Energy official David E. Rodgers. Along with many other exuberant well-wishers, they celebrated the awarding of a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certificate to the largest “green” building on earth, the glitzy Palazzo Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. This announcement came via press release from Ron Reese and Mindy Eras, spokespeople for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is justifiably proud of this recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council. Additionally, the building also received the “Energy Innovator’s Award” from the U.S. Department of Energy. This honor recognizes the successful use of energy-efficient, and/or renewable, technology.

The Palazzo employs such effective environmentally-efficient technologies that it conserves enough water to provide each Nevada citizen with 266 eight-ounce glasses of water for a year and saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for 12,100 years. It even promotes alternative modes of transportation by offering valet parking – for bicycles.

Features include showers, toilets and faucets that conserve a whopping 37%, and a watering system for the plant life that uses 75% less water. The swimming pools are solar-heated with enough left over to help out with the hot-water system for the rest of the hotel. In the Palazzo’s 3000 suites, the air conditioning is so smart, it cuts back when nobody’s around, and returns to the guest’s desired level when the room is occupied.

Architect James R. Rimelspach (The Stubbins Associates), developer Sheldon Adelson (incidentally, the third wealthiest man in the United States), and the rest of the team worked closely with consultants from LEED right from the start of the project. The framing used 66,000 tons of steel, averaging 95% recycled content, and the 10,000-yard core foundation pour utilized 26% recycled concrete. There are eight below-ground levels, allowing for a 4,400-space parking garage whose excavation took an entire year, displacing a million cubic yards. It’s interesting to look back to September of 2005 when, at the project’s inception, Las Vegas Sands Executive VP Brad Stone told reviewjournal.com that the excavation added as much as $60 million to the price tag.

“This was born out of necessity,” Stone said. “We wanted to have a certain size property and we only had so much land to work with. We realized we had to put the parking underground, so we came up with a plan and put it in place. When you look at the cost of an acre of land on the Strip, you need to make your best usage of that land.”

Supported by several hundred pilings 120 feet deep, the structure rises 50 stories above ground and encompasses over 60 luxury boutiques, along with 20 other high-end retail establishments, including the first Lamborghini dealership to grace the Strip. The Palazzo’s Grand Opening was celebrated in January of this year, with festivities that included a Diana Ross concert, fireworks, and an abundance of celebrity guests. That was a great event in its way, but this week’s validation from the U.S Green Building Council was a historically significant event. How long, we wonder, will it be before a new “largest green building” comes along?

SOURCE: “The Palazzo Las Vegas Named Largest ‘Green’ Building in the World” 04/09/08
photo courtesy of Bernardo Wolff , used under this Creative Commons license

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