Traveling to Las Vegas probably won’t be the greenest trip you ever take, but there are a few ways of making it more eco friendly. A few resorts have adopted green standards as part of their appeal and they offer all the Las Vegas goodies to boot. Use this top 10 guide to steer you to the greener parts of Vegas.
You can contribute to the “green” cause by choosing activities that benefit the environment, or support companies whose missions are eco-aligned.
1. Visit a green resort. City Center, one of Las Vegas’ newest resorts opened its doors with LEED certifications, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council http://www.usgbc.org, signifying their accomplishments in green construction. City Center is literally a “city center” encompassing a convention center, casino, high-end shopping mall, spa, art gallery, dining and residential properties. The luxury hotels Mandarin Oriental, and Vdara, along with Crystals, a large collection of high end retail shops housed in eco-industrial architecture are just some of the attractions to be seen in this mega resort. http://www.citycenter.com
2. Stay in a green hotel. Another “green” surprise on the Las Vegas Strip, The Palazzo is a certified Silver LEED Certificat. The Palazzo, at the Venetian opened with eco friendly practices such as installed air conditioning controls in guest suites that automatically setback by several degrees when guests are not using the room. Controls return to the desired temperature upon the guest’s return. They use interior plumbing fixtures that use 37% less water, water-efficient showerheads, and moisture sensors that conserve water and the steel frame of the building was constructed with 95% recycled content. http://www.palazzolasvegas.com or http://www.venetian.com.
3. Visit a green attraction. Family destinations are a part of Las Vegas and the Springs Preserve is Las Vegas’ greenest attraction. The Springs Preserve, a Platinum LEED Certified property, offers museums and trails that educate and entertain its guests with the history of Las Vegas and sustainable practices. Their cafe operated by Wolfgang Puck offers regional and organic fare as well as reasonable prices for the quality of food you receive. Check out their membership programs that offer discounts at the cafe and gift shop, which may end up being cheaper for out of town guests than the daily admission charge. Most of the membership fee is tax deductible so it adds additional value for those who need write-offs. springspreserve.com.
Contribute to the eco friendliness of your experience by following these easy green tips. These are all easy ways to help conserve precious resources and can be used at home too.
4. Use your towels twice. Just because hotel services offer daily towel laundering, take advantage of our normally dry climate and air dry your towel to use again. While this won’t work in moist climates, you can easily return to a dry towel by hanging it up and requesting that the towels not be washed. One day can help conserve water, a limited resource in the desert.
5. Shut down your room when you leave. Turn down your air conditioner, or heater when your not in the room. This little effort will save energy and will keep the room from being too frigid or hot when you return. Some energy efficient hotels have automatic systems that will do this for you, but if you are on a manual system making this small adjustment will conserve a lot.
6. Conserve water. Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth. Just pop it on to rinse. Take shorter showers. Hey its Vegas, two can shower together for the environmental price of one.
If Vegas doesn’t put you in the eco mood, get out of the city and experience an awe moment in the desert. You may find it inspiring in more ways than one and gain a new appreciation for the Mojave Desert.
7. Take and guided eco tour with a local expert. Many trail guides tours are available in Las Vegas, and from companies that offer exciting adventures in the back country of the Mojave. Southwest Eco Experience offers eco friendly custom itineraries that include luxury camping style amenities. Their expert guides will provide you with information about the local history and ecology of the desert while traveling to some of the best scenery around. http://www.southwestecoexperience.com.
8. Take a day trip to an ecological treasure. The Nature Preserve at the Clark County Wetlands Park preserves one of the most ecologically important environments in the world. This is a 130-acre wetland park has well planned trails and scenery you won’t have to drive out of Las Vegas to enjoy. The trails are well marked and have amenities that makes desert exploring easy on novice hikers, families with small children or if you want a relaxing stroll. There are two ADA accessible paved loop trails, connecting gravel trails, a potable water source at the trailhead, porta-potties, wayside exhibits, and shade structures and benches along the trails. http://www.accessclarkcounty.com.
Shopping smart is eco friendly, and Las Vegas is a treasure trove of great green shopping. You may find your most unique souvenir or a “must have” on this adventure.
9. Shop used. In fact, Las Vegas has a great selection of thrift stores that are well organized, fresh smelling and all around department-store like. Reusing is one of the best ways to prevent unwanted items from ending up in land fill, and what is unwanted by one, may be exactly what another is looking for. Another positive to buying used is that many thrift stores contribute all, or part of their profits to non profit organizations. When traveling, used stores are great for picking up unusual souvenirs, or to get an inexpensive replacement for what you may have forgot to pack.
One of the best places for first time thrift store shoppers is Savers. There are several locations to choose from, but the one with the steadiest stream of consistently good stuff is on the corner of Spring Mountain and Decatur. http://www.savers.com
Add a little green to anything you do around Las Vegas.
10. Use sustainable transportation. Rental car companies now offer hybrid and environmentally sound cars. The savings in gas is also a wise economical choice. Las Vegas typically has higher gas prices than most US cities. Visit http://www.vegasgasprices.com to find the cheapest gas stations in town. Visit http://www.hybrid-rental-car.com for the most up to date eco-car rental locations in Las Vegas.
Public transportation works well for getting to and from the area’s attractions. The Deuce, a double deck bus, operates on the Strip and is a great way to get back and forth because of the long stretches in between casinos. In Las Vegas, just because you can see it, doesn’t mean you should necessarily attempt walking to it. For specific public transportation routes and schedules, visit www.rtcsouthernnevada.com for a user friendly route planner.
Car pooling is another way to save on the green in your pocket and the green of the environment. It is also a lot more fun than traveling solo in Vegas.
What happens in Vegas may stay here, but hopefully you will bring and return home with, a travel-style that is eco friendly.