Sustainable Authorities in the Casino Industry
Canadian businesses, both online and real-world, have been quick to respond to popular thinking regarding environmental issues, whether that's the development of new technologies or simply applying best practice to building design and using existing know how to best effect.
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) was founded in 1993 by Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried and Mike Italiano. By 1998, LEED v1 (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was ready and began to be tested with 19 pilot projects. In the years since the LEED scheme has undergone numerous iterations and modifications, culminating most recently in 2019's LEED v4.1. This builds on v4's emphasis on materials, resources, and water, allowing the best projects to earn LEED points via monitoring and driving integration to better measure ongoing performance.
Through LEED, the USGBC aspires to transform the way that the best buildings are designed, constructed and operated, embedding the best popular eco-friendly ideas into casinos, retail outlets, elementary schools, and everything in between. In more recent years, LEED certification in Canada has happened exclusively via the CaGBC (Canada Green Building Council). Projects seeking LEED certification accrue points for embarking upon green building strategies in various categories. The number of points earnt means a building can be considered certified, silver, gold, or platinum (for the best). Not only do popular eco-friendly casinos in Canada benefit from improving environmental standards and enhancing the quality of life of employees, making buildings more energy-efficient also reduces heating/aircon costs, improving the bottom line for businesses and combining prosperity with the best kind of environmentalism. This eco-friendly concept is actually accepted and implemented by the most popular, legal online casinos in Canada that operate in a fully eco-concious manner, which is something that many other online casinos in the country and abroad should be aspiring for.
Members of LEED come from across the globe, including Canada, China, and the US (naturally), as well as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Australia, the Philippines, Italy, Mexico, and many more. A number of popular household names, including Bank of America and online giant Adobe, are members.
Green Key Eco-Rating
Green Key Global is a Canada-based international environmental certification body that has formulated standardized programs and resources for the hotels and meetings industries. The popular support for the organization is indicated by the more than 1,800 hotels and venues in 15 countries across the world that participate. The Eco-Rating certification program has undergone a number of revisions and is currently on its third and best version to take account of new sustainable practices.
Green Key Global is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and affords members bespoke guidance and useful tools to minimize environmental impacts and maximize performance through best practice. Profits and responsibility dovetail when firms take advantage of decreased emissions and improved performance, lowering the amount of pollution and energy required to make structures both greener and less costly.
ENERGY STAR Canada is a voluntary partnership between the Canadian government and industry to foster the availability of the best high-efficiency products and make them readily accessible in Canada. Participants include manufacturers of the best products such as heating and lighting equipment, windows, doors and skylights, and other items such as fridges and freezers, water coolers, and appliances. Research has revealed that a large majority (88%) of Canadians recognise the ENERGY STAR symbol and with the rising popular sentiment in favour of eco-friendly policies, casinos can take advantage of such ready availability to both signal a socially responsible attitude and help attract players.
A Look Inside Canada's Top Eco Casinos
Many online and land-based businesses in Canada, including the best casinos, have popular eco-friendly policies. These have advantages including the obvious environmental benefits, but can also save money and thereby increase profits. Here are some of the best examples of eco-friendly Canadian casinos.
Elements Casino has been in operation in Canada for over two decades now, and during that time has previously been known as OLG Casino Brantford and the Brantford Charity Casino. This charity casino gives a portion of profits to the Trillium Foundation, which distributes the money to the best good causes.
Parq Vancour is a six-floor, open-air development designed by landscape artist Christopher Phillips, featuring four-star hotels, restaurants, and lounges, the two-floor Parq Casino, and over 200 native Canadian pines.
Parq Vancour was built from the beginning with the best environmentalism and sustainability in mind. The vision of the creators was to develop a popular Canadian site that was green at heart, and would naturally meet the threshold necessary for a Gold Certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Using the best locally sourced materials from British Columbia, such as Douglas fir trees and North Shore rock, helped reduce unnecessary transport, cutting down on carbon emissions whilst simultaneously supporting the local economy. Not only that, the development occurred in alignment with the City of Vancouver's Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which aims to make the Canadian city the greenest on the planet. The eco-friendly Parq Casino is part of this drive to achieve greener outcomes by emphasizing local food, clean water and air, and lower carbon dioxide and ecological footprints to reduce the negative impact of civilization on the natural world. In 2015, Vancouver won a C40 Cities Award in recognition of its popular global leadership on green issues and was named the third greenest city in the world in the 2016 Global Green Economy Index.
River Rock Casino
River Rock Casino is the largest casino in British Columbia and opened its doors in 2004. This popular riverside establishment sees thousands of visitors every day, both from Canada and further afield, and the casino is one of the best and most popular settings for Vancouver's substantial film industry.
When it comes to being eco-friendly, River Rock Casino is one of the best entertainment venues. Transport is a popular strength, with the TransLink bus service route having a stop within walking distance and enabling guests and staff to opt for public rather than private transport. Similarly, the Bridgeport Station (Canada Line SkyTrain) is located conveniently close, and the extensive parking facilities are accessible for park-and-ride transit users. Travellers thus enjoy the best possible transport choices. Guests staying at the hotel of River Rock Casino Resort can choose to avail themselves of the popular Green Choice Program. People staying for more than 1 night can choose not to have housekeeping and thereby reduce the consumption of water, energy, and other resources. Such a choice also comes with $5 food credit, a $5 donation to the David Suzuki Foundation, or 500 extra I-Prefer Member points. Each participant in the Green Choice Program saves 4Kwh of electricity, 32 gallons of water, 7oz of chemicals from entering the environment, and 4g of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, River Rock Casino Resort's eco-friendly reputation is bolstered by the fact it was the first hotel and casino to sign up to the ChopValue Recycling Program. This program, created by Canadian firm ChopValue, is a chopstick recycling scheme, one of the best of its kind. The casino's Number 3 Chinese Restaurant is furnished with bespoke tables made from a total of 425,000 recycled chopsticks. Vancouver has landfill of 100,000 chopsticks every day, and this eco-friendly Canadian casino is committed to reducing the footprint it has on the environment. Recycling chopsticks keeps carbon dioxide locked up rather than emitting it into the atmosphere, achieving the best possible result. The Number 3 Chinese Restaurant has 1,416 tiles made from recycled chopsticks, and these are used as tabletops to store 427,632 grams of carbon dioxide. Collectively, the popular ChopValue Recycling Program has recycled 15 million chopsticks in the Vancouver area of Canada, reducing landfill by some 45,000kg.
Niagara Fallsview Casino
Niagara Falls, ON
The Niagara Fallsview Casino opened its doors to the public in 2004 following three years of construction work. The popular casino resort overlooks Canada's world-famous Horseshoe Falls and the complex is owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
In 2015 Niagara Fallsview Casino was awarded a rating of 4 Green Keys by Green Key Global, in response to the Canadian casino's best eco-friendly measures and popular sustainable practices, as was Casino Niagara. Greg Medulun, Communications Director at Niagara Casinos, described it as a significant achievement, adding that it was a small part of the ongoing commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. Those working at the Canadian casinos are actively encouraged to participate in sustainable activities both at work and at home. Niagara Fallsview Casino's popular eco-friendly acts include replacing all its 1,425 incandescent light bulbs, and 47 pole heads in the 10 storey parking garage, with energy-efficient LED bulbs to reduce energy consumption by 202.4 kW (and save $216,000 per annum). By installing VSDs on cooling towers and soft start motors for the hot water boosters at Niagara Fallsview Casino far less electricity is consumed, which also means an annual cost saving of more than $40,000. In addition, there was the purchase of a Bulb Eater 3 machine to break-down used CFL, MR16, and fluorescent tube bulbs whilst preventing the toxic gases contained within from entering the atmosphere, reducing landfill by 8,000 bulbs a year and cutting the cost of monthly pickups. A 7,000 lb bio-digester unit, (EnviroPure's EWP-7000) was installed as well, enabling the transformation of organic matter into greywater and reducing the need for organic waste to be taken by truck for composting. Another of the best eco-friendly casino measures implemented was the installation of utility meters to help identify and remedy inefficient use of energy.
Northern Lights Casino
Prince Albert, SK
Opening over two decades ago in 1996, Canadian entertainment venue Northern Lights Casino boasts hundreds of slot machines and around a dozen tables for its patrons to enjoy, in addition to a lounge and restaurant where players can relax when they're taking a break from trying to beat the odds.
Northern Lights Casino is part of the SIGA group of Canadian casinos. The best eco-friendly policies have been adopted by SIGA, in accordance with the spirit of Witaskêwin, and the Canadian organization has a commitment to both the management of its impact on the environment and a long term strategy for the best ongoing care of Mother Earth. The Corporate Social Responsibility popular initiatives encourage staff to reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever feasible, and to seek the best new ways to mitigate the organization's environmental impact. Simple steps on energy such as shutting off lights and turning off computers are small but popular measures taken to decrease energy consumption. Likewise, power management systems have been upgraded to make energy use more efficient, achieving the twin objectives of cutting usage and cost. The Canadian casinos involved now use eco-friendly cleaning products, and there's been a dramatic reduction in waste thanks in no small part to the recycling of paper, cardboard, bottles, plastic, tin, and cooking oil (64,400lbs in 2018). The best water conservation practices have been put into effect, including the usage of smaller and reusable cups and the reduction of single-use plastics such as bottled water and plastic straws. SIGA also participates in popular awareness events such as Earth Day clean up projects and Earth Hour, and maintain the fleet in order to preserve fuel economy and make the atmosphere of Canada just a little cleaner.
Casino de Montreal
The Casino de Montreal is located on Notre Dame Island in the eponymous Canadian city. It's the largest land-based casino in Canada and first opened its doors back in 1993. Since then this popular casino has expanded a number of times and today employs almost 3,000 people, operating every hour and every day.
The Casino de Montreal's eco-friendly efforts have been numerous, with a three-pronged approach to sustainability along the lines of social fairness, conservation, and best economic performance. One of the most straightforward and popular measures of the casino's eco-friendly drive has been the elimination of bottled water in gaming areas, opting instead for reusable glasses. Across all Québec casinos, this policy has cut plastic bottle consumption by almost 1.2 million every year. More than 122 metric tons of paper have been saved every year by the actions of Casino de Montreal to reduce paper usage and reuse, reclaim, and recycle where possible. This saving amounts to more than 2,200 trees and 8,423,147 saved litres of water. In addition, the casino has achieved Level 2 certification under RECYC-QUÉBEC's Ici, on recycle! Program, in recognition of its contribution to resource conservation. Amongst its popular eco-friendly policies, this Canadian casino has eco-certified some of its internal meetings attended by over 30 employees, with plans to expand this process going forward. Landscaping to responsibly transplant hundreds of mature trees is going ahead, with surface earth remove as part of the process reused elsewhere in Canada.
What Canadian Casinos Can Do to Become More Eco-Friendly
There are many popular measures that Canadian casinos interested in eco-friendly approaches can implement. Many of these have already been enacted, but the continual progress of technology means that there will always be more ideas coming online and popular improvements that can be made in sites in Canada and worldwide.
- Ban Single-Use Plastics: Single-use plastics come with significant disadvantages environmentally. Not only does the plastic itself either have to be recycled after just the single-use or thrown into the landfill, despoiling Canada, the increased turnover of items means far more traffic on the roads, in the air, and on the seas, increasing transport-related pollution. There's also an economic case against continuing to use products made from single-use plastic (reusable chopsticks, for example, can last over 100 meals and make more economic sense than single-use chopsticks, combining cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability). It's also one of the best areas for an eco-friendly Canadian casino to make a popular change as there's a natural turnover of products if they are (or were previously) single-use plastic, and the ensuing approval of staff and guests means a popular response can follow.
- Replace Outdated Lighting with LED: The use of LED (light-emitting diode) lighting rather than traditional incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent lamps might seem like a small measure but it has significant positive implications. LED lighting is increasingly popular because it has a lifespan many times that of incandescent lighting, and is enormously more efficient than fluorescent lighting. Models vary and efficiency is continually being improved, but an LED lamp might use just 10% of the energy that a comparable incandescent light requires. They're also around 3-6 times more efficient than fluorescent lamps, which are (when disposed of) considered hazardous waste due to the mercury contained therein. Eco-friendly Canadian casinos opting for LED lighting can benefit from cheaper lighting, replacing lights less frequently, and easier disposal than with older types of light.
- Use Better Building Materials for Repairs or Expansions:: The relative downside of advancements in building materials is that it can difficult or impossible to fit existing structures (built before the advent of such know-how) with them without embarking upon a full rebuild, itself not the most environmentally friendly of procedures. However, eco-friendly casinos can take advantage of progress in this field when it comes to either substantial repairs or expansions. Often this can come in the form of natural materials including locally sourced lumber that comes from high standard forests in Canada, or rapidly renewable materials such as straw or bamboo. Recycled goods like stone or metal are other possibilities. What all this enables is an approach to construction or repair, that is both more sustainable and more energy-efficient, saving up to 30% over the course of a building's lifespan.
- Install More Sustainable Heating Methods: When it comes to heating, better insulation and building materials are a popular start but every building still needs to be kept warm and comfortable. Ground source heat pumps have been described by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the most energy-efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally clean conditioning systems available. Not only that, ground source heat pumps can be combined with solar heating to create a geosolar system that's even more efficient. Although initial costs are higher than some other systems, heat pumps are more efficient and become the best value within a few years (to a decade) after installation. Depending on location, forms of renewable energy via microgeneration may also be possible to bring online. Solar panels can be affixed to roofs and used to power heating systems (certain areas, including Alberta in Canada, allow for surplus energy to be sold to a national energy grid).
- Donate Excess Food: Excess food donation is, weirdly, something that dates all the way back to medieval times when nobles couldn't consume all their dishes at dinner and gave the excess to either their servants or the needy (to popular approval). When eco-friendly casinos have surplus food left at the end of the day, there are much better alternative uses than shovelling it away, eventually to be taken to landfill. Charitable causes can give the vast majority of foodstuffs to Canadians in food poverty, costing the charity nothing extra but helping those in the most need. Not all excess foodstuffs can be given away like this (inedible organic matter such as orange peel, for example), but much that can't have other uses, such as for composting which then helps other green Canadian spaces to flourish.
- Start from the Ground Up: A major advantage that new eco-friendly casinos possess over older ones is that the best environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies can be used from the off, and integrated into the very structure of the buildings. By designing with the particular location in mind, window placement, size, and glazing can help to retain solar heat in winter and reject it in summer. This type of passive solar design can also involve thermal insulation. The location can also be important for transport infrastructure, enabling staff and visitors to reach an eco-conscious casino by the public rather than private means, and incorporating recharging stations to assist electric car drivers. Construction materials including locally sourced and renewable types such as lumber and bamboo, as well as high performances concrete, can be used throughout, and there may be microgeneration possibilities for renewable energy including solar, hydroelectric, and wind (contingent upon the particular location).
Looking to the Future of Canadian Green Casino Initiatives
Recent advances and popular support suggest the future may be brimming with possibilities. Research into photovoltaic windows (windows that double up as solar panels) is one promising and popular area, and advancements in battery technologies may mean that in the future when excess energy is produced by renewables this can be stored for days when the wind isn't blowing as much as one would like. Biodegradable plastics are less than ideal but nevertheless improve on the existing situation, so when the use of plastic is unavoidable this can mitigate the environmental impact. With strong political and popular support for greener approaches, there's plenty of ways that eco friendly casinos could become even more sustainable going forward from 2024.