Vegas' Venetian highlights sustainability efforts

LAS VEGAS — The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, which this week is hosting the inaugural The Hospitality Show being produced by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and Questex, is making sure any guests curious about the mega-property’s efforts toward sustainability can—quite literally—get the inside information they seek.

As part of an ongoing program, Marc Komatsu, senior manager/sustainability for the property, gives those interested a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes on a tour to see and understand up close what goes into having an environmentally friendly footprint.

This includes visiting one of The Venetian’s more than 4,000 suites, with details given as to what’s been improved, such as adding low-flow fixtures, LED lighting and low-VOC carpeting that is certified green label. Another site is the underground parking garage that showcases how water from beneath the property is being processed and used to maintain The Palazzo tower's landscaping and plantings. A third brings visitors back of house to see the property's waste-management system and “how we’re trying to reduce the waste we produce as well as reduce the waste ending up in the landfill,” Komatsu said.

“We’ve created a sustainability strategy that really has four pillars,” Komatsu said, explaining that these are green buildings, implementing sustainable standard operating procedures, green meetings and stakeholder engagement.

The Venetian, which Komatsu said hosts millions of guests each year, is part of an interconnected complex that features three towers, including the Palazzo tower (for a total of more than 7,000 suites) as well as the Expo and Convention Center, all accounting for some 17 million square feet of space, of which some 12 million square feet is “conditioned,” i.e., heated or cooled.

“It’s important to us just knowing what The Venetian is made of—the sheer size of it … If we didn’t focus on sustainability, a lot of these metrics—such as our energy usage, water usage [and] the waste we produce—would just be out of control,” Komatsu said.

Another very large component of The Venetian’s business is convention clients and a key focus for Komatsu is green meetings: “I do meet with a lot of clients to figure out how we can make their event more sustainable.”

The resort is in the process of removing what plastic it can. “On our Expo side, they’ve gone completely plastic-free, switching  over to a lot of compostables,” he noted.

The Hospitality Show, for example, plans to treat attendees to a zero-waste lunch on both June 28 and June 29, with leftovers donated to local charities or farms, ensuring sustainability throughout.

Komatsu said there’s a lot of engagement on the team-member side. “One of our pillars as part of sustainability is stakeholder engagement. So, our focus is on letting both external and internal stakeholders, such as our team members, know more about sustainability and what we’re doing and how they can actually help out in our sustainability efforts.”

“Sustainability is really at the heart of what we do,” said Nicole Hanisko, director of resort services at The Venetian. “We are very conscious about our environment and our local community, as well as the world … we are ingrained with sustainability efforts, ensuring that everything we do is thoughtful to not only our earth, but also the people that work here, as well as our community and our guests.”