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Press Release: First LEED Casino in the World

Press Release: First LEED Casino in the World


Des Plaines, Ill. – Mar. 15, 2012 – Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the newest casino in the Chicagoland area, has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Rivers Casino is the first casino in the world to achieve the LEED Gold certification.

“We are proud to be recognized as a leader in sustainable development and we hope to set an example for the rest of the gaming and entertainment industries,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of Rivers Casino. “It’s important to all of our team members that we are a good corporate citizen.”

“Achieving LEED Gold was challenging and expensive, but in the long run, the effort will improve the environment and reduce our operating costs,” said Neil Bluhm, Chairman, Midwest Gaming and Entertainment, LLC.

Rivers Casino opened in July 2011 and has become the premier entertainment and gaming destination in the Chicagoland area. Rivers Casino was designed with a sustainability plan to achieve LEED certification for energy, lighting, water and material use, as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable elements. USGBC established LEED to encourage developers to design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources, while also making good economic sense.

“This honor really belongs to our entire development team including Klai Juba Architects, Cleo Design, DMAC Architecture, Development Management Associates, our general contractor, Pepper Construction and the city of Des Plaines” said Carlin.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “The work of innovative building projects such as Rivers Casino is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

LEED Gold Certification of Rivers Casino is based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact both the project and the local community. These features include:

  • LED light fixtures in the parking garage and other areas throughout the Casino building save on energy usage and maintenance costs.
  • 70 percent of the electrical energy consumed by the building over a two-year period is being offset with green power.
  • Skylights and Clerestory windows add natural light for guest and employee comfort while saving on lighting costs.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures and sensor-controlled faucets reduce water usage by 40 percent.
  • Paint and adhesive materials with low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) provide a healthier environment for workers and future inhabitants.
  • Casino operations include a single-stream recycling plan, reducing the amount of waste delivered to landfills.
  • 90 percent of all construction waste, over 70 million pounds, was recycled or utilized on site – avoiding the landfill.
  • Interior living green walls provide better air quality and comfort.
  • Occupant sensor-controlled lighting provides lighting when needed and saves energy at other times.
  • Complimentary electric car charging stations are provided for customer use. Free valet parking is available to low-emissions and fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • The project is a Brownfield redevelopment, which rehabilitated a previously developed site and reduces pressure on undeveloped land.
  • The project managed site water runoff with a Surface Water Intake Protection Program (SWIPP) program during construction to prevent runoff damage to adjoining areas.
  • The project stormwater treatment system removes 98.6 percent of total suspended solids from site runoff.
  • Installation of concrete drives, landscaping, a multi-level parking structure and white roof reduce the urban heat island effect.
  • Over 43 percent of the material for the project was sourced from within 500 miles of the project site, reducing carbon emissions from transportation of that material and supporting local economies.
  • The site is close to public transportation to promote efficient travel. Rivers Casino adjoins two Pace bus lines and is within one mile of both METRA and CTA rail stations.
  • Bike racks are provided for workers and customers and preferred parking is provided for alternate fuel vehicles.
  • Landscaping is largely made up of native and drought tolerant plant species, eliminating the need for irrigation and saving both potable water and hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Located just steps away from O’Hare airport and minutes from downtown Chicago, Rivers offers its guests a variety of food and beverage options as well as entertainment. The 44,000 square foot gaming floor is exciting at every turn with nearly 1,050 slots and 48 table games, including new dollar slots and video poker games.

Planning to come out to Rivers Casino? Be sure to catch the complimentary shuttle from the Rosemont Blue Line to the casino 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, running approximately every 15 minutes. For more information visit


Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC (“Midwest Gaming”) is a partnership between affiliates of Neil Bluhm and Clairvest Group Inc. Collectively the partners bring a wide range of development and gaming experience to Rivers Casino, having developed, constructed and managed casinos, luxury hotels, and other hospitality businesses around the world.


The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since UGSBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (, and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit


The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating SystemTM is a feature-oriented rating system that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria. The six major environmental categories of review include: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category. LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities.

Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies. For more information, visit