John Caparella, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Venetian|The Palazzo & Sands Expo: Sustainability is doing no harm, trying to preserve all that we can, be aware of the resources that we're using, and continually strive to use less and less so that there's more for our children. If we don't take care of the planet and if we don't take care of the environment we continue to waste resources and be inefficient in the way that we use resources things will run out. We want to do the right thing. I think it's that simple. Everything that we do from a design and construction perspective there's always an element of how do we do this in an environmentally responsible way, so it's part of our DNA. It's how we think about things. It's sort of built in to what we do and what we think about.

In 2008, The Palazzo received its Leed Silver Award for new construction. In 2010, The Venetian and Sands Expo were both awarded Leed Gold for existing buildings. So if you combine The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Sands Expo what you get is the largest Leed certified building on the planet.

Rishi Tirupari, Project Manager Sustainability, The Venetian|The Palazzo: We are such a huge property. Any small initiative that we do has a huge impact on the environment. Leed certification in an existing building is really important because it focuses a lot on operations. Because operations use a lot more energy and resources than a new construction, new construction happens once and it's done but operations continues for the lifespan of your building.

Kim Grange, Vice President, Engineering, The Venetian|The Palazzo: As well as maintaining the marble I've got to maintain the sustainability. I have to make sure that we are taking the trash out as we're supposed to. We're recycling that trash that we're supposed to. Are the light bulbs going in that are qualified and that meets our requirements for sustainability? So it's two parts, building it Leed certified and then operating it Leed certified.

John Hess, Executive Director of Engineering, Las Vegas Sands: Sustainability to me means that we're minimizing our burdens on the environment. Some of the upgrades that we've put into our properties as part of our Leed certification have yielded significant improvements. We currently save at least 73 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Some of the greatest benefits occur with energy efficient lighting.

John Caparella: By reducing the wattage we've found that you've got a product that lasts longer so you've got less going in to landfills. Another side benefit is the reduced heat so your air-conditioning improves. One of the things that we think about as it relates to lighting is how can we not only rely on artificial light but use natural light. When we're able to introduce outside light into the building we try to take advantage of that like we've done successfully in The Palazzo. We've spent millions of dollar to implement solar PVs and solar thermal systems.

John Hess: We have a very large solar thermal heating system. It's approximately 18,200 square feet. It's believed to be the largest system here in the United States and in Canada. It provides heating to the pools, spas, some of the domestic hot water. We've also put in a 116 kilowatt photovoltaic system also utilizing solar energy except in this case it generates electricity. The benefit of that is that it helps reduce our utility consumption.

Doug Bennett, Conservation Manager, South Nevada Water Authority: Less energy use will always mean less water use. Keeping the energy use down is also going to produce less heat in the building. Less heat in the building means we have to have less air-conditioning trying to discard that heat.

John Caparella: We have a state of the art cooling technology that we use. The water fixtures in our luxurious suites are low flow. We have a water reclamation system in place.

Doug Bennett: Sands has established a recycling system. They're reclaiming this very low quality water, treating it in their own treatment plant, and turning it in to very high quality water that can be used to irrigate the landscape on the grounds. They use low volume irrigation which means drip irrigation that's putting the water right where the plants need it.

John Caparella: We've reduced our annual consumption of water by more than 130 million gallons with zero impact on our guests.

Doug Bennett: They've done everything to make the guest room highly efficient, to make the cooling systems highly efficient, the irrigation highly efficient. These are some of the best managed facilities anywhere in the world.

Dan Johnson, Chief Engineer, The Venetian|The Palazzo: I manage the world's largest resort hotel casino with all the trash and all the recyclables heading for the same recycling facility. During the construction of the Palazzo 70% of the trash down to the dock was recycle. We have 60 tons of trash that go through that dock each day. We recycle 15,000 light bulbs each year, 20,000 batteries each year, 12 tons of food is recycled at the dock daily. To save that from going to the landfill and being recycled is a big plus.

Kim Grange: We're blazing the trail here. I mean we really are. This is the biggest place in the world that I'm aware of that does this much effort.

Rishi Tirupari: If we change one bulb that saves us hundreds of thousands of kilowatt hours. Any small initiatives that are implemented here have a huge impact.

John Caparella: On a global basis, given our scale, we are certainly the leaders. I can promise you that there isn't a hotel close to this size that has made the inroads that we've made in sustainability.