The Strip goes green with ETC
The $1.9 billion (£1.1 billion), 50-storey Palazzo Las Vegas opened in December 2007, and now holds a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council.
The largest LEED structure in the world, Palazzo Las Vegas presages a new era of conservation minded building construction in the area. According to an article in USA Today, plans are underway to build more than 50 million square feet (4.6 million sq m) of new casino resort projects to LEED standards on and around the Strip, and existing resorts are looking at improving their energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of LEED compliance, and ETC lighting products were one element that enabled Palazzo Las Vegas to meet the standard. An ETC Unison lighting control system and ETC Sensor+ dimming were part of the installed lighting package, plus more than 100 ETC Source Four luminaires, which are an energy-frugal standard of the industry. The Unison system is programmed to save energy through automated functions such as occupancy sensing (dimming the lights when no people are present in a space) and daylight harvesting, where lights are dimmed in response to the amount of available natural light.
“We’re starting to automatically approach projects from a green mindset,” says Buddy Pope, senior project manager with the Las Vegas office of 4Wall Entertainment. 4Wall Entertainment established the general lighting control guidelines and specified the lighting control package that was provided to supplier Gexpro, to meet the requirements of the various lighting designers for the space. “For instance,” he continues, “we make the most of sky-lit areas through the use of daylight sensors, automatic dimming and the ability to turn off entire circuits. The ETC Unison control is well suited to that because it is designed to perform astronomical functions and to interface with photo cells.”
The Palazzo complex includes a hotel tower of over 3,000 guest suites surrounded by a vast, sky-lit podium/atrium area designed by architect HKS Inc, featuring luxury retail shops and world-class dining and entertainment. The theatre there is a permanent venue for the Tony Award winning musical Jersey Boys.
Kaplan Gehring McCarroll Architectural Lighting Inc (KGM) provided lighting design for much of the complex. “The aesthetic challenges are a little different when lighting an interior that already has so much natural light,” comments KGM partner Martin van Koolbergen. “You’re no longer dealing with space as a box. In certain areas, you have to counter the intensity of the natural light and balance it with uplighting and decorative features. At night, the lighting control system has to be balanced to maintain the proper foot candles on the ground to meet emergency standards, deemphasise the ‘black holes’ of the skylights and retain the monumental feeling of the architecture. A lot depended on the use of energy-efficient lamps and sources, and the ETC control system with its dimming capacity.”
The Palazzo’s annual savings in electricity is reckoned to be more than 10.6 million kilowatt hours, enough to power 700 homes for a year, or brew six million cups of coffee.
“This project is a new benchmark for the industry,” says van Koolbergen. “It demonstrates that the developer of a major upscale property – on the Strip or elsewhere – can maintain standards for quality, drama and experience and also be environmental good guys. Not only do you create more efficient spaces, you create a setting that is pleasant and healthier in which to live and work.” KGM worked closely with owner Las Vegas Sands Corp, HKS and consulting firm Ernst & Young on the specifics of LEED compliance.
Additional lighting designers on The Palazzo project included Pivotal Lighting Design (Canyon Ranch), First Circle (Cut Restaurant), IDC New Jersey (Carnevino Restaurant), Bliss-Fasman (Charlie Trotter Restaurant), Tom Ruzika (Morels Restaurant), Isometrix (Sushi Samba), Arc Lighting (Bath House) and Focus Lighting (Dos Caminos and Table Ten restaurants).
The lighting gear list includes a total of 50 ETC dimmer racks, 97 ETC Unison stations, over 1,800 ETC dimmer modules, 52 Source Four® HID 150W luminaires, and 50 Source Four 375W luminaires.