Grading Green

The past decade saw an impressive array of green buildings go up in Southern Nevada. How are they performing?

Pop quiz: Which state had the highest amount of LEED-certified building space per capita in 2010?

No, it wasn’t California. And don’t say New York, Oregon or Vermont, because the answer is Nevada.

Bonus question: Which Nevada city has the most LEED-certified square footage?

That’s right, by one measure, Las Vegas was the greenest city in the greenest state in the country. In the interest of full disclosure, we note that the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2010 top 10 list actually puts the District of Columbia in first place, but D.C. isn’t a state so, yeah, we won. And we should probably note too that the USGBC’s 2011 list came out in January and … umm … Nevada wasn’t on it. Chalk that up to the recession slamming the lid on new construction.

But the achievement of the 2000s will resonate in Southern Nevada long after the recession has come and gone. Several exemplary projects made a point of integrating buildings into our climate, rather than fighting it. We now have one of the biggest LEED-certified “campuses” in the nation and another one so eco-friendly it helped write the rules on eco-friendly. The question is whether these buildings are living up to their promise.

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, we checked in on how seven of our marquee green projects are performing with a bit of mileage on them. Do they meet efficiency goals set by their designers? Do they save money? Are they comfortable?

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The Lonesome Death of Family Vegas

The Lonesome Death of Family Vegas

By Geoff Carter

Tonight in Las Vegas, we’ll drink to a bygone time. We’ll drink to the sprawling suburbs that we once thought would attract young families and keep them here from magnet school to UNLV. We’ll drink to the ghosts of lip-syncing pirates, to the skeletons of NASCAR-themed roller coasters and casinos that look like Playmobil. Tonight, we’ll drink to the memory of “family-friendly” Las Vegas.