Las Vegas Strip: An Energy Consumption Nightmare

by Jeffrey

CFLs, hotels, incandescent light bulbs, Las Vegas, LED

elvis-lights-vegas.jpgEver wondered how much energy is consumed and CO2 is produced by all those lights on the Las Vegas strip?

Yeah, it’s A LOT!

I’ve just returned from a business trip to Vegas and though I did get the obligatory touristy picture with one of the ten thousand Elvis (or would it be “Elvi”, plural?) I found myself unable to cease wondering how much power is consumed by all those lights, glitz, and glam.

Despite a great deal of scouring, I have thus far been unsuccessful at obtaining hard and simple facts as to actually how much power all those lights on the strip consume. However, a guest blogger named Sue Roaf, a professor and expert in environmental architecture, published an enlightening post at on the topic back in November.

Regarding a new development under way, named The City Centre, next door to the MGM Grand, she says:

“Each new resident will need 20,000 kWh of electricity a year. That will be 400,000 megawatts at a cost of $40,000,000 a year producing 160,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.”

For scope, the average American household uses 10,660 kWh/year. Residents and guests at The City Centre are projected to consume TWICE THAT AMOUNT!

Is there any solution to the ravenous energy consumption and carbon dioxide production that epitomizes Vegas?

They could use the ever famous and frequently discussed CFL, could they not?

Well they could, and some hotels do, but they’re only useful for indoor light fixtures and such, not the outside neons that the Vegas strip is known for. So what else could be done?

Enter the LED.

LED stands for light emitting diode and is even more efficient than a CFL, but the two are used for completely different reasons…sometimes.

LEDs are quite versatile and would meet the needs of any Vegas casino (or any individual) who’d like to add some neon to the facade of a home or business. Sometimes underground groups of teens make them into something called “throwies” and use them as a new type of vandalism. It is actually pretty cool, and no permanent damage is done. Check out this video:

Though LED bulbs cost about 20 times as much as CFL’s, around $55 per bulb, the energy savings is drastic–rapidly offsetting their cost! Click the following image to view a comparison done by of a CFL, LED, and Incandescent. It will blow your mind!

Are you amazed yet? reports that Las Vegas is already implementing LEDs. I hope this is true, for the reasons we now clearly understand.

Would you consider using such expensive LED bulbs in your home? How about when you travel? Do the environmental efforts a hotel or airline may take impact where you stay or how you travel?