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🗣️ "From Trees to Housing - City of Las Vegas Plans for a Sustainable Future"

Water Smarts Podcast

Photo by Jordi Vich Navarro / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Bronson Mack & Crystal Zuelke
Guest: Marco Velotta | Planner | City of Las Vegas
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:32] “We're in one of the driest parts of one of the driest states in the country. So with limited resources, and that we're sharing the Colorado River with the other states in the southwest, it's important that we use energy and water wisely, whether it's the hydro power from the Hoover Dam, to the lake itself. […] We're working to create a built environment that uses land use appropriately that connects land use and transportation together and do so in a way in which we have housing that conserves water, that we use our other resources like renewable energy in the appropriate way. And then build on the technologies that are coming next, like battery storage that will help us transition to cleaner energy.”

[7:26] “About 10 years ago, we started trading out our streetlights from metal halide and sodium vapor streetlights to LED technology. […] They last longer, they reduce our overall operational costs and most importantly, they conserve energy. We […] [are] one of the first cities in the United States to be a large scale city that purchases green power at such a big municipal scale. […] We've also helped reduce our transportation related emissions. […] [What] we've been able to do as well as provide public electric vehicle charging. […] [Also,] throughout the city, you'll start to see new changes to how streets look, we'll have more tree lined streets and more places for people to walk and bike safely and comfortably.”

[12:20] “LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. And it's typically used with new green buildings as a rating system in which you achieve a certain number of points for demonstrating how environmentally friendly it is, how cost effective it is, and what a benefit it is to the community. So that's that triple bottom line. So doing this rating system helps provide something somebody could turn to to say that this is in fact, a green building. And a lot of the resorts on the strip have actually achieved LEED certification as well through the innovative things they've done with energy, water recycling, and their buildings operations themselves.”

[17:06] “Not only do we have the indoor water consumption that we've been monitoring, and we've been addressing at our buildings and facilities, but we've also been looking at our parks. With the amount of parks that we do have, those are important community benefits that people love to go to visit. […] We've made very important choices to make sure that we design our parks so that they're water efficient in which we have functional turf that's available for people to use and recreate.”

[17:50] “For athletic facilities themselves, we've taken a look at how some of our facilities are used and working with SNWA and Las Vegas Valley Water District we've been able to participate in the incentive programs to convert some of our more intensive facilities from natural turf to artificial turf. […] That saved the city millions of dollars long term because they also have the operational savings that go along with that.

[18:31] “We are served by the water district, [which] recycle[s] […] almost 100% of the water that gets used indoors. That's all going out back out to our wastewater treatment facilities and then it gets treated and then goes back out through the Las Vegas wash, it gets filtered through all the vegetation that lines it through the wetlands park and then makes its way back out to Lake Mead where it can get used again. We have a state of the art water pollution control facility, that's our wastewater treatment plant off of Vegas Valley. And not only do we have solar that's out there that's helping power our plants. We also have anaerobic digestion that's using biogas from the methane that gets generated there to power the facility as well. So not only do we save water, we're also coming together with that water energy nexus and doing some sustainable work out there as well.”

[24:32] “One of the effects that urbanization has is creat[ing] and trap[ping] heat within our area. […] In particular with respect to the desert environments, we have this double edged sword so to speak, […] the desert climate that we have, but also just asphalt, concrete that's a part of houses and buildings that go in. So the way that you mitigate that is by providing areas of vegetation. And the trick to doing it the right way is to mak[e] sure that we have water efficient and drought tolerant tree species. So we've been working to increase our overall urban tree canopy over the last decade and we're going to be continuing to do [so].”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 31 min | 🗓️ 08/09/2021
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