CNG stretch limo - click to enlarge

The giant CityCenter that is under construction in Las Vegas – which, at a cost of $8 billion, it is the largest single privately funded development in U.S. history, say the developers – certainly has the funds to invest in some green enhancements. The 18-million-square-foot development is on track to get a combination of gold and silver LEED ratings. Part of the greenery will be a fleet of 26 stretch limos, each 24 feet long, that burn compressed natural gas (CNG), apparently the first such fleet in the world. The limos will be used by the CityCenter's ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel. The developers chose CNG because it is abundant in the U.S., burns clean and is often cheaper than petroleum diesel or gasoline. As probably won't surprise long-time readers, T. Boone Pickens approves of the choice. He will be in Vegas next week for the National Clean Energy Summit 2.0, along with Senator Harry Reid, former president Bill Clinton, former vice president Al Gore and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

PR for the CityCenter says that it is "a development that was created with a vision to bring a new level of environmental consciousness to the Las Vegas Strip," which sounds good but wouldn't even a single recycling bin on the street there be more "environmental consciousness" than exists today? (I admit I'm biased against Vegas). Other eco-touches at the CityCenter, which will open in December, include preferred parking for "green cars and carpoolers," bicycle storage units and rideshare options.

[Source: CityCenter]



PRESS RELEASE:

CITYCENTER DRIVES SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS WITH WORLD'S FIRST STRETCH-LIMO FLEET POWERED BY CLEAN-BURNING COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG)

LAS VEGAS – August 4, 2009 – Keeping with its commitment to sustainability, CityCenter has commissioned the first stretch-limo fleet powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). Developed by Krystal Enterprises, the world's largest manufacturer of stretch limousines, in collaboration with Clean Energy Fuels, BAF Technologies and Ford engineers, the 26 silver, 72-inch Lincoln Town Cars are 100 percent dedicated to utilizing CNG and will service CityCenter's ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel.

"Commissioning the first CNG stretch-limo fleet is a demonstration of CityCenter's commitment to environmental responsibility, while never sacrificing guest experience," said Bill McBeath, president and COO of ARIA Resort & Casino. "Just as with every element of CityCenter's design and construction, we're determined to employ the most innovative solutions possible to grow responsibly, while continuing to raise the bar on service, comfort and experience."

Compressed natural gas was selected for the limo fleet because of the abundant U.S. natural gas reserves; it also is one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels available and is generally less expensive than either gasoline or diesel with greater price stability.

Compared with vehicles fueled with conventional diesel and gasoline, natural gas vehicles produce significantly lower amounts of harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides (35-60 percent less), particulate matter (90-97 percent less), carcinogenic and toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide (90-97 percent less) as well as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (25 percent less). Source: U.S. Department of Energy

"As the leader in stretch-limo development, Krystal Enterprises worked closely with CityCenter and BAF Technologies to ensure this custom fleet provided the highest level of CNG practices without compromising the quality experience CityCenter guests will expect," said Ed Grech, president and CEO of Krystal Enterprises.

Every element of CityCenter has been masterfully woven together with the greatest of consideration for our environment and future. Charting a new course for responsible growth in Las Vegas, MGM MIRAGE is pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification at CityCenter. The 18-million-square-foot, multi-use project will incorporate a variety of elements – from the use of reclaimed water to on-site power generation and sustainable materials selection to indoor environmental quality – to make it one of the world's largest environmentally sustainable urban communities.

In addition to CityCenter's CNG limo fleet, guests will be greeted with preferred parking for green cars and carpoolers, and will be offered bicycle valet service; residents will have bicycle storage, rideshare options and dedicated carpool pickup lanes; and employees will be presented with a full range of transit, bicycle, green car and carpool options
.