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ETC lighting products help Palazzo Las Vegas achieve LEED standard and establish a new industry benchmark


Thanks in part to ETC lighting products, the Palazzo Las Vegas is not only the newest, tallest and most luxurious hotel and resort complex on the Strip, it is also the greenest. The $1.9 billion, 50-story Palazzo Las Vegas opened in December 2007, located next to its sister property, The Venetian. The Palazzo is the flagship LEED structure on the Strip. (LEED certification — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — comes from the US Green Building Council. Palazzo is LEED Silver certified.)

The largest LEED structure in the world, Palazzo Las Vegas presages a new era of conservation-minded building construction in the area. According to a January 17 article in USA Today, plans are underway to build more than 50 million square feet of new casino-resort projects to LEED standards on and around the Strip, and existing resorts are looking at improving their energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of LEED compliance, and ETC lighting products were one element that enabled Palazzo Las Vegas to meet the standard. An ETC Unison® lighting control system and ETC Sensor®+ dimming were part of the installed lighting package, plus more than 100 ETC Source Four® fixtures, which are an energy-frugal standard of the industry. The Unison system is programmed to save energy through such automated functions as occupancy sensing (dimming the lights when no people are present in a space) and daylight harvesting (dimming lights in response to the amount of available natural light, ).

“We’re starting to automatically approach projects from a green mindset, ” says Buddy Pope, senior project manager with the Las Vegas office of 4Wall Entertainment. 4Wall Entertainment established the general lighting control guidelines and specified the lighting control package that was provided to supplier Gexpro, to meet the requirements of the various lighting designers for the space. “For instance, ” continues Pope, “we plan up front to make the most of sky-lit areas through the use of daylight sensors, automatic dimming and the ability to turn off entire circuits. The ETC Unison control is well suited to that because it is designed to perform astronomical functions and to interface with photo cells.”

The Palazzo complex is a property of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. It includes a hotel tower of some 3, 066 guest suites surrounded by a vast, sky-lit podum/atrium area designed by architect HKS Inc., featuring luxury retail shops and world-class dining and entertainment, including a theater that is a permanent venue for the Tony Award winning musical, Jersey Boys.

Kaplan Gehring McCarroll Architectural Lighting Inc. (KGM) provided lighting design for The Palazzo, the Jersey Boys theatre, Paiza Club, Grand Lux Café, Entertainment Lounge, and the building façade. “The aesthetic challenges are a little different when lighting an interior that already has so much natural light, ”
comments KGM partner Martin van Koolbergen, AIA, LC. “You’re no longer dealing with space as a box. In certain areas, you have to counter the intensity of the natural light and balance it with uplighting and decorative features. At night, the lighting control system has to be balanced to maintain the proper foot candles on the ground to meet emergency standards, deemphasize the ‘black holes’ of the skylights and retain the monumental feeling of the architecture. A lot depended on the use of energy-efficient lamps and sources, and the ETC control system with its dimming capacity.”

The Palazzo’s annual savings in electricity is reckoned to be more than 10.6 million kilowatt hours, enough to power 700 homes for a year, or brew six million cups of coffee.

“This project is a new benchmark for the industry, ” says van Koolbergen. “It demonstrates that the developer of a major upscale property — on the Strip or elsewhere — can maintain standards for quality, drama and experience and also be environmental good guys, ” says van Koolbergen. “Not only do you create more efficient spaces, you create a setting that is pleasant and healthier in which to live and work.” KGM worked closely with Las Vegas Sands Corp., with architecture firm HKS Inc. and with consulting firm Ernst & Young on the specifics of LEED compliance.

Additional lighting designers on The Palazzo project included Pivotal Lighting Design (Canyon Ranch), First Circle (Cut Restaurant), IDC New Jersey (Carnevino Restaurant), Bliss-Fasman (Charlie Trotter Restaurant), Tom Ruzika (Morels Restaurant), Isometrix (Sushi Samba), Arc Lighting (Bath House), and Focus Lighting (Dos Caminos and Table Ten restaurants).

The lighting gear list includes a total of 50 ETC dimmer racks, 97 ETC Unison stations, 1847 ETC dimmer modules, 52 Source Four® HID 150W fixtures, and 50 Source Four® 375W fixtures.

For more informatio
n on ETC lighting controls and fixtures, go to

For more information on 4Wall Entertainment, visit
For more information on KGM, visit

Photos: Lobby pic courtesy Palazzo Las Vegas, exterior  Blake Marvin – HKS, Inc.

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