The solar thermal system at The Palazzo is among the largest in the nation

The Las Vegas Review-Journal published an article today about our Environmental Report and sustainability efforts. Below is an excerpt, but read the whole thing.

Las Vegas Sands began its sustainability efforts seven years ago, but this report is the company’s first compilation verified by an independent source. The study of the company’s green operations was verified by Amsterdam-based Global Reporting Initiative, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability.

“It is the most recognized standard for reporting globally, so that’s why we chose GRI,” said Katarina Tesarova, executive director of global sustainability for Las Vegas Sands.

In 2011, Las Vegas Sands spent $2.5 million on capital expenses to sustain environmental efforts. In addition, each property has a sustainability director to lead the charge.

“We know that, yes, we are reducing costs by doing this. We also know that by investing into these right technologies we have a payback on certain items over the next seven or eight years,” said Norbert Riezler, senior vice president and chief procurement sustainability officer.

Riezler also noted that many conventions and meetings, such as October’s IMEX America show, choose meeting space based on green options the host can offer. That makes going green good for business.

“It starts becoming a differentiator,” he said.

In Las Vegas, The Palazzo houses one of the nation’s largest rooftop solar-thermal systems. A collection area of 18,200 square feet with 364 panels provides hot water for swimming pools and spas.

Through its Sands Eco 360 program, Las Vegas Sands also solicits employee suggestions, many of which have resulted in bottom-line savings.

For instance, toasters in the employee cafeteria previously ran continuously. Based on an employee’s suggestion, they toast only when they’re fed bread - a $20,000 savings in energy costs.

LVS has invested in solar panels

But the company is focused on changes that can have the most impact, such as using steel that has 95 percent recycled content in the construction of The Palazzo.

“Ultimately, it’s not about us, but about what we do and how it affects other people,” said Michael Leven, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corp….

Michael Luehrs, president of the Green Meetings Industry Council said it was “heartening” that the company is focused on all aspects of sustainability, including carbon and water.

“Anybody who feels this is a trend, isn’t really paying attention,” Luehrs said of sustainability efforts.

Read the rest at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.