Rivers Casino Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Rivers Casino Main Sign


Des Plaines Casino Awarded Gold Certification for Sustainable and Innovative Building

DES PLAINES, IL (March 15, 2012) –Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the newest casino in the Chicagoland area, has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  Rivers Casino is the first casino in the world to achieve the LEED Gold certification.

“We are proud to be recognized as a leader in sustainable development and we hope to set an example for the rest of the gaming and entertainment industries,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of Rivers Casino.  “It’s important to all of our team members that we are a good corporate citizen.”

“Achieving LEED Gold was challenging and expensive, but in the long run, the effort will improve the environment and reduce our operating costs,” said Neil Bluhm, Chairman, Midwest Gaming and Entertainment, LLC.

Rivers Casino opened in July 2011 and has become the premier entertainment and gaming destination in the Chicagoland area.  Rivers Casino was designed with a sustainability plan to achieve LEED certification for energy, lighting, water and material use, as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable elements.  USGBC established LEED to encourage developers to design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources, while also making good economic sense.

“This honor really belongs to our entire development team including Klai Juba Architects, Cleo Design, DMAC Architecture, Development Management Associates, our general contractor, Pepper Construction and the city of Des Plaines” said Carlin.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC.  “The work of innovative building projects such as Rivers Casino is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

LEED Gold Certification of Rivers Casino is based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact both the project and the local community.  These features include:

  • LED light fixtures in the parking garage and other areas throughout the Casino building save on energy usage and maintenance costs.
  • 70 percent of the electrical energy consumed by the building over a two-year period is being offset with green power.
  • Skylights and Clerestory windows add natural light for guest and employee comfort while saving on lighting costs.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures and sensor-controlled faucets reduce water usage by 40 percent.
  • Paint and adhesive materials with low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) provide a healthier environment for workers and future inhabitants.
  • Casino operations include a single-stream recycling plan, reducing the amount of waste delivered to landfills.
  • 90 percent of all construction waste, over 70 million pounds, was recycled or utilized on site – avoiding the landfill.
  • Interior living green walls provide better air quality and comfort.
  • Occupant sensor-controlled lighting provides lighting when needed and saves energy at other times.
  • Complimentary electric car charging stations are provided for customer use. Free valet parking is available to low-emissions and fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • The project is a Brownfield redevelopment, which rehabilitated a previously developed site and reduces pressure on undeveloped land.
  • The project managed site water runoff with a Surface Water Intake Protection Program (SWIPP) program during construction to prevent runoff damage to adjoining areas.
  • The project stormwater treatment system removes 98.6 percent of total suspended solids from site runoff.
  • Installation of concrete drives, landscaping, a multi-level parking structure and white roof reduce the urban heat island effect.
  • Over 43 percent of the material for the project was sourced from within 500 miles of the project site, reducing carbon emissions from transportation of that material and supporting local economies.
  • The site is close to public transportation to promote efficient travel.  Rivers Casino adjoins two Pace bus lines and is within one mile of both METRA and CTA rail stations.
  • Bike racks are provided for workers and customers and preferred parking is provided for alternate fuel vehicles.
  • Landscaping is largely made up of native and drought tolerant plant species, eliminating the need for irrigation and saving both potable water and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Laflin Design Group, ltd. is proud to be part of the design team that helped Rivers Casino achieve LEED Gold Certification and become the first LEED certified casino in the world!

One Response to Rivers Casino Achieves LEED Gold Certification

  1. Magdy says:

    OK, OK, obviously I have to come in and try my best to do a liltte PR here.No, seriously, not PR. Just some explaining. LEED for Homes is literally brand-new. It just barely launched in late November. Before that, it was in pilot form. Development of LEED rating systems is a long, involved process, with lots of consensus-building among the USGBC membership, a lengthy public comment period, another lengthy balloting period, not to mention constant revisions and new versions. It’s all an attempt to make sure all the “green” elements LEED considers are truly green, realistic and applicable to the type of building being considered, etc. etc.A key part of developing the rating systems is a pilot period, which involves guinea-pig projects sorting through the process to bring to the surface any unforeseen issues (and there are always lots). With the Homes system, especially, that required third-party certification from experts who could focus on some carefully selected projects (to represent single-family homes, affordable housing, big-city high-rises, etc. etc.). It just takes time to do some quality control.And people are right. If you’re building your own home and just want to make it green for the sake of doing the right thing, there is no concrete reason to get it certified, unless you want bragging rights. LEED for Homes is mostly useful for commercial endeavors (i.e., an apartment building that wants to advertise its rooms as green, or a spec builder who wants to draw attention to a new development). It’s also useful in jurisdictions that offer tax incentives or other inducements for LEED-certified building.But LEED for Homes is definitely growing – booming, actually – and there are now something like 15,000 homes registered in the LEED process. So new providers in more geographically diverse areas will be showing up.And regarding that one guy’s comment about manufacturers wanting to get their systems LEED certified, LEED actually doesn’t certify products of any type, nor does it endorse or recommend any. Only buildings can get any kind of stamp of approval from USGBC, so it’s really not a money issue. I promise. If it was, I’d tell you. :)

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