The Role Of Energy Efficiency In Las Vegas’s Healthcare Facilities – Las Vegas: Bright Lights, Sustainable City Las Vegas works toward 30 more years of sustainability management under the guidance of alumnus Marco Velotta.
Towering solar panels stand guard against an unholy enemy in front of Las Vegas City Hall. The effects of a hot climate and severe drought are more pronounced in the city built in the middle of the Mojave Desert, and the solar panels represent a quick and focused transformation of Las Vegas 15 years ago to future-proof the city. The efforts have paid off. In 2016, Las Vegas was certified as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold City by the US Green Building Council for implementing extensive sustainable building and operational practices. The city reduced annual water consumption by 40 billion gallons over the past 15 years, even as the population grew rapidly, and in 2020 the city launched its new 30 with a clear focus on sustainably managing the future of Las Vegas. Annual master plan launched. Las Vegas city planner and Geography Department alumnus Marco Velotta (B.S. Geography ’06, M.S. Land Use Planning ’08) has been at the forefront of the city’s sustainability movement since 2008. He grew up in Las Vegas and has witnessed the rapid growth of the city. Its sustainability through the Great Recession and its subsequent unexpected transformation into a model city of sustainability. He’s well aware that the road ahead isn’t a straight line, which is a good thing because mapping is Velotta’s job.
- 1 The Role Of Energy Efficiency In Las Vegas’s Healthcare Facilities
The Role Of Energy Efficiency In Las Vegas’s Healthcare Facilities
Alumnus Marco Velotta walks under the solar panels in front of Las Vegas City Hall where he works as a city planner. (Jennifer Kent)
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“Where do you get a crystal ball to confidently say what the future is going to look like?” Velta asked. “We’ve been taking action on sustainability for more than 15 years. We’ve been able to make big investments in renewable energy projects and energy efficiency. Now, we’ll add 300,000 more people to the city of Las Vegas alone and metro by 2050.” stands to add another 3 million people to the greater area of Developments that are not as water-consuming and still achieve population growth. There are a few ways forward; it’s just deciding which one is best.”
“The crazy thing is, if we get to a point where water is not going through Hoover Dam, Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles will all lose Lake Mead as a resource.”
Water tops the city’s list of conservation concerns. Lake Mead – which holds water for southern Nevada as well as Arizona, California, Mexico and several Native American tribes – is at its lowest level ever and continues to fall. For the first time in August, the federal government moved to mandate cuts in the amount of water drawn from man-made reservoirs in Arizona, Mexico and Nevada as it approaches dangerously close to a dead pool that now contains water at Hoover Dam. does not pass through, essentially cutting the Colorado River in the middle of the desert. The Southern Nevada Water Authority, planning for the worst, broke ground in 2015 on a new $1.5 billion Southern Nevada operating low-level water pump. It was turned on in April 2022 just as the intake valve pumps on one of the two main aqueducts breached the surface and became unusable. As of today, September 28, the lake’s water level was 1,045 feet above sea level. The other original pump, still submerged and operational, sits just 172 feet down.
“The crazy thing is, if we get to a point where water is not going through Hoover Dam, Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles will all lose Lake Mead as a resource,” Velotta said. ” “Eighty percent of Lake Mead’s water is used for agriculture in the Imperial Valley and Arizona. We may have seasons where we don’t get some of the produce we’re used to. We have to ask, should we be growing things in the Sonoran Desert? ?Should we ask that question?”
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Image Caption: A photo of Lake Mead taken on June 14, 2022 shows the decline in water levels from 2000 to 2021 and June 2022, including a dramatic decline over the past year because of drought in the West. Due to this, precious water is being released. Resources (Jennifer Kent)
Las Vegas is asking and answering similar tough questions about its water use. The city recycles 99% of its wastewater, which is considered negligible water use. However, evapotranspiration from consumable water sources such as landscape irrigation, water-based cooling systems and ponds accounts for 60% of all water demand, with a large majority coming from single-family residential properties.
“When we were communicating with residents, what was consistent was that water was a concern,” Velotta said. “We’re looking at rezoning areas for high-density housing that’s more water efficient. There’s also a nexus with affordable housing. We don’t have multi-family and even single-family housing types. are what you also have in Reno – we don’t have a lot of duplexes, triplexes. We’re really limited when two-thirds of all the housing stock is single-family, which is water-efficient, or apartments.”
There’s an elegant niche for waterfront housing — what the master plan calls the “missing middle” — three- to four-story multifamily homes in urban, walkable neighborhoods with nearby public transit. But it is single-family housing that still uses most of the city’s water, and many conservation efforts have been made in this sector. Strategies include increased restrictions on landscaping and water features, as well as incentives to transition to less landscaped yards. In 2021, the city mandated the removal of dormant grass from public spaces. These purely decorative lawns, common to office parks, street medians, and housing developments that provide no recreational or environmental benefit, are a bottleneck in the city’s water supply. The piles of rolled turf made national news days before the city grabbed the spotlight once again when the scene of a suspected mob killing — human remains were found in a barrel — was uncovered at what was once Lake Mead. was under
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“We’ve got a lot of attention right now because of the drought. We’re in the spotlight across the country,” Velta said. “These are things the city is doing now to curb water consumption while the population There is growth that will determine the future of Las Vegas.”
A map of Las Vegas shows much of the city’s southeastern neighborhoods wrapped in green to represent grass/sod and tree coverage. Las Vegas is working toward 20% tree canopy coverage by 2035 as well as ensuring that 85% of the population lives within 1/3 mile of green spaces that provide cooler temperatures by 2050. , such as a park or tree canopy, (City of Las Vegas Master Plan)
Water is not the only challenge. As a city built in the middle of the desert, a concerted effort must be made to combat the urban heat island effect. Asphalt, concrete and other urban infrastructure components absorb and retain much more of the sun’s heat than natural landscapes and can significantly raise the temperature of the surrounding air. Las Vegas has the most extreme urban heat islands of any city in the country, with temperatures 20 to 25 degrees hotter than the surrounding desert. One of the best strategies to combat this effect is planting trees. The master plan outlines a goal of planting 60,000 native, drought-resistant trees throughout the city and ensuring that 85% of the population lives within 1/3 mile of a green space. provide cooler temperatures, such as a park or tree canopy, by 2050. Other strategies include painting roofs white (another feature of City Hall) and reducing the use of asphalt and concrete.
Strategies are bold for a reason. they work. Over the past decade, the city has reduced its annual municipal water demand by 2.25 billion gallons and cut per capita water consumption in half since 2000. The city has already met its previous target of planting 40,000 trees by 2020. But gaining public support for a bold strategy can be a challenge. While water and rising temperatures are top concerns for Vegas residents, so are affordable housing, crime, access to public parks and open spaces. By inviting community input early in the planning process, Velotta and his colleagues at City Hall have been able to respond to community needs while promoting sustainability in everything they do. . Velotta is spearheading the East Las Vegas project, Nuestro Futuro Est de Las Vegas (Our Future East Las Vegas), which will transform a city-owned water-use golf course into a mixed-use neighborhood that will master the development. Meets the plan’s sustainability goals. A vibrant new neighborhood.
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“This is where all of these things come together,” Velotta said. and drought tolerant trees, can be repurposed for a community center,
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