Hotels Save Energy With a Push to Save Water

A new U.S. government program challenges lodgings to save water and energy.
Feb 28, 2014 2:00 PM ET

By Brian Clark Howard

National Geographic


Las Vegas-based Caesars realized a double payoff when it gambled on saving water.

By cutting back on washing, lawn-sprinkling, and plain old waste, the hotel and gaming conglomerate saved both water and energy.

But as is usually the case with casinos, Caesars knew the odds were in its favor. "I don't think we appreciate the value of water as much in our country as in much of the world," said Eric Dominguez, corporate director of engineering, utilities, and environmental affairs for the company, which owns Harrah's, Planet Hollywood, Bally's, Showboat, Rio, Flamingo, and Caesar's Palace. "Because the pricing of water here does not reflect its true value, we are spoiled here."

In the United States, households typically pay about $2 for every 1,000 gallons of water (53 cents per cubic meter). That's a cheap rate among developed nations, about 40 percent less than in Germany and 30 percent less than in Japan.

Dominguez added that water's relatively low price compared with the cost of energy has made it harder to get companies excited about conserving it. But in fact, as Caesars has realized in recent years, saving water can actually lead to savings in energy, because of the intimate connection between the two vital resources. And Dominguez says hotels are uniquely suited to take advantage of the possibilities.

"For us in the hospitality business, water is a big part of what we do, so we were early to adopt reduction targets," he said.

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