As part of a growing green movement within the gaming industry, Global Gaming Expo (G2E) the industry’s main trade show and conference recently unveiled a new carbon offset program designed to mitigate the greenhouse gases associated with the event’s exhibition hall. The program sponsor, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., has purchased carbon offsets to counteract the estimated 161 metric tons of carbon dioxide produced at the hall, which is equivalent to a U.S. household’s total emissions over 15 years. Additionally, individuals attending the trade event can mitigate their own carbon footprints by purchasing carbon offsets on the G2E Web site. G2E 2008 is scheduled to take place November 18-20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“G2E’s new carbon offset program is a reflection of the industry’s ongoing commitment to implementing cutting edge sustainable business practices in our casinos across the country,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “The gaming industry continues to be a leader in the broader business community in a number of areas, including environmental stewardship.”
Carbon offsets are an increasingly utilized, easily accessible, and economical approach to addressing pollution and climate change. Carbon offset purchases fund reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by supporting projects such as wind farms, solar plants, and other energy efficiency initiatives. By funding these projects, consumers and businesses can balance out or offset negative impacts on the environment. NativeEnergy, a carbon management and renewable energy marketing company that will administer the G2E program, has published additional information about carbon offsets and how they work on its Web site.
Harrah’s sponsorship is one component of the company’s CodeGreen program, a comprehensive, company wide environmental sustainability effort. It will purchase G2E 2008 carbon offsets from NativeEnergy, which worked with Harrah’s earlier this year to offset the emissions created during the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. Experts at NativeEnergy estimate that 161 metric tons of carbon dioxide will be produced at the 325,000 square foot G2E exhibit hall from electricity and HVAC use, as well as waste production.
“For more than five years, CodeGreen teams at Harrah’s have implemented dozens of environmentally sustainable programs at our casinos, and we continue to aggressively pursue opportunities to creatively address environmental challenges and responsibilities,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, CEO, and president of Harrah’s Entertainment. “Carbon offsetting is a very affordable method of mitigating the impact of travel and energy used during events. We’d like to encourage G2E attendees to join us by purchasing carbon offsets to make this year’s conference and trade show a more eco-friendly event.”
The carbon offsets purchased for G2E 2008 will support the Cascade Sierra Solutions (CSS) Trucking Efficiency Project. CSS is an Oregon-based nonprofit that helps provide locally owned trucking companies and owner-operator truckers with energy efficient products such as auxiliary power units, aerodynamic devices, and new, more efficient wheels and tires at affordable prices. CSS also provides its clients with regulatory advice, installation contracting, and below market financing to help them cut costs and lessen their environmental impact. CSS estimates that, depending on the services provided, most of their clients reduce their trucks’ emissions by 10 to 60 metric tons each year—the equivalent of converting five to 25 average cars into hybrid models.
“It’s a win-win situation for both the trucker and the environment,” says Ray Butler, a truck driver based in Creswell, OR. After upgrading his 2000 Freightliner truck with a Tempco Idle Solutions auxiliary power unit, Michelin X1 singe-wide tires, aluminum rims, and a Dorian pressure monitor, Butler estimates that he saves 76 gallons of diesel fuel each week.
G2E’s carbon offset program is part of the gaming industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Major casino companies, like Harrah’s, have executed sustainability programs at their casinos. For example, the new 76 acre, mixed-use Las Vegas building project, the MGM Mirage CityCenter, is pursuing LEED certification. Additionally, International Game Technology (IGT) has implemented several internal waste reduction efforts, and, since January 2008, more than 143,000 pounds of electronic materials from IGT’s Reno, NV, facility have been recycled. Boyd Gaming’s Las Vegas Suncoast Resort recycles kitchen grease and previously implemented an asset recovery program to save money on lost silverware and glassware. The program has been expanded to include cardboard, paper, plastic, and even food, which is now turned into compost resulting in a 70% reduction of the trash sent to the local landfill. Finally, in addition to its efforts with carbon offsets, Harrah’s CodeGreen teams continue efforts to retrofit 40 casino properties with environmentally sustainable programs.