Sands Proves a Hotel Chain Can Pursue Environmental Sustainability

Can a hotel chain practice environmental sustainability? The hotel and resort chain, Sands, proves that it's possible. The company has completed over 300 energy conservation projects globally since 2010. The projects resulted in annual electricity savings of 247 kilowatt hours (kWh), more than enough energy to power The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Sands Expo in Las Vegas combined.

The company’s latest sustainability report highlights what it has done to take care of the environment. The projects range from simple lighting retrofits to building re-commissioning, air side optimization and chiller plant optimization. Sands added an electronic dashboard that stores and analyzes utility use and and emissions data so it can understand its performance. 

Green building is key to any hotel chain's sustainability program

Green building is a big part of any hotel chain’s sustainability program. In 2007, the Palazzo Las Vegas was the company’s green building built to LEED standards, achieving Silver certification. Two years later, Sands Bethlehem was built on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It is the largest remediated brownfield site in the U.S. In 2010, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore was designed and built with the Singapore Building Construction Authority Green Mark Standard. Since 2008, Sands has received 20 green building certification and awards at eight of its global properties. 

Sands Cotai Central, built in 2012, was the first property in Macao to make sustainable features like recycling and LED lighting part of the development process. In 2015, The Regis Macao was the company’s first property with all LED lighting. The Parisian Macao, slated to open this year, was built according to Sands’ Sustainable Development Standards. It features 100 percent LED lighting, low-flow water fixtures which will save 12.2 million gallons a year, high performance glazing to reduce the building’s solar heat gain, and infrastructure built to use grey water when it becomes available in Macao. It is the first project in Macao to pursue LEED certification. 

Renewable energy and green building go hand-in-hand. Sands became the first company to have a resort on the Las Vegas Strip adopt on-site renewable energy by installing 680 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on top of its team member parking garage. The PV panels generate 116 kilowatts (KW) of electricity. The Palazzo has one of the largest rooftop solar thermal systems in the U.S. It provides hot water for swimming pools, spas and part of the hotel tower. Sands Macao has pole-mounted lights with micro-wind turbines that get energy from both wind and sun. 

The importance of reducing food waste and water use

Food waste is a big problem globally. Consumers in rich countries waste 222 million tons annually. The entire need food production of sub-Saharan Africa is 230 million tons. About 40 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted and over 97 percent of that food waste ends up in landfills. Sands is tackling the food waste problem by taking food waste and turning it into grey water with digesting machines in Macao, Singapore and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. So far, it has diverted 1,665 tons of food waste that way. 

Conserving water is important, particularly in the dry west. Nearly two-thirds of Nevada is either under drought or abnormally dry. Several Nevada properties feature water conservation technologies. The roof of the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands collects rain water that is filtered and used for restrooms. The Palazzo has a nano-filtration system which saves 12 million gallons of potable water every year and keeps the property from using municipal water for irrigation. 

Photo: Sands