It’s easy being green in Vegas

Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy being green in Vegas. Sure we have flowing water shows, brimming buffets and constantly flashing lights. But behind the scenes, many hotels here actually have major eco-friendly initiatives in place. There are also several steps you can take as a tourist to help reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing any fun or frivolity. Here are my top six suggestions:

1. You know how your mom always yelled at you when you threw your stuff on the floor in your room? Well, guess what, we’re not your mom. However, in Vegas there is a time and place for throwing things on the floor of your hotel room. To save on water, many eco-friendly hotels in Las Vegas won’t wash your linens unless they’re lying in a heap on the floor. So help save water by resisting the urge to throw down every single towel, pillow case and sheet. Save it for the really dirty ones (no need for details on how they got that way).

2. Some of the newer hotels in Vegas like M Resort, Palazzo and ARIA at CityCenter (scheduled to open Dec. 16, 2009), have some pretty high-tech gadgetry like automatic light sensors and controls that allow guests to green their stay by indicating preferred level of light and room temperature. But even if your hotel room is technologically challenged, you can still do simple things like turning off the lights and turning up /down the thermostat (depending on the season) when you head out on the town. It may seem like a small gesture, but think of the energy that could be saved if every Vegas guest in every Vegas hotel room followed this green rule of thumb.

3. While you’re at it, unplug the appliances in your hotel room. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly 20 percent of the electricity used by appliances, such as televisions and alarm clocks, is lost while sitting in standby mode. But just turning them off doesn’t do the trick. The only way to stop this leaking electricity is by pulling the plug.

4. Pack light. The lighter the cargo, the less fuel will be burned on the flight or drive over here. Vegas is a desert. In the summertime, it’s going to be hot. You won’t need to bring your heaviest parka, wool mittens and snow boots. In fact, the less you wear in Sin City, the better. That’s how we roll.

5. Walk, use the monorail or if you really feel the need to drive, share a taxi with the buxom babe you met at your hotel pool.

6. Think globally, buy Vegas-ly at the Las Vegas Farmers Market in the Fremont East Entertainment District between Las Vegas Boulevard and Sixth Street from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays. Where else but Vegas can a person purchase farm fresh produce, spot an Elvis impersonator and slam a foot-long novelty drink, all in one place? (The Fremont East Las Vegas Famrers Market closes for the winter and reopens in March, but visit their website for more information on other area farmers markets).