April 16, 2010 (San Diego)-- Barona Resort & Casino announced yesterday that it has achieved Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED™-EB) rating system. Barona is the first tribal resort in the nation to earn the internationally recognized certification for the design and operation of high performance green buildings.
“The Barona Resort & Casino’s LEED for Existing Buildings Gold certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The most sustainable way to green the built environment is through retrofitting existing buildings. Barona can look forward to increased water and energy savings throughout the lifecycle of the facility.”
For more than a year, staff members have been working toward certification under the LEED program, which encompasses all aspects of building management and maintenance.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council and think that it is an important milestone for Barona,” said Rick Salinas, general manager of Barona Resort & Casino. “This achievement sends a clear message about Barona’s commitment to sustainability. LEED was in its infancy when we built our resort so the opportunity to retrofit our building to high-performance green benchmark is a major accomplishment for our team. We would also like to encourage other properties to join us in working towards more sustainable operations. What might seem to be an impossible task is entirely possible and the right thing to do.”
LEED Gold Certification of the resort was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. A few of these key features include Barona’s extensive recycling efforts, including the recycling of paper, cardboard, batteries, plastic, electronics, Styrofoam and guestroom soap; the use of green maintenance and cleaning products; a shuttle program for guests and staff to reduce the property’s carbon footprint; parking spaces designated for alternative fuel vehicles; and an educational program about Barona’s environmental efforts which is available to staff as well as resort guests.
Buildings achieving LEED-EB certification must meet minimum standards in critical performance categories including energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management and indoor air quality. In addition, buildings must achieve a minimum number of credits or ‘points’ by documenting the implementation of sustainable practices. To date only a few hundred buildings in the U.S. have achieved LEED-EB certification, of which only a handful are hotel or resort properties.
“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,” continued Fedrizzi. “The work of the team at Barona Resort & Casino is a fundamental driving force in the movement.”
Pursuing LEED certification is just part of the Barona Valley Environmental Sustainability Program and wide reaching eco-friendly mission. Barona’s state-of-the art water reclamation plant allows Barona to reclaim and reuse nearly every drop of water runoff at the resort and Barona Creek Golf Club. The property currently uses 100 percent of the reclaimed water to irrigate the golf course and surrounding landscape at the resort.
And, in a pro-active approach to water conservation, the Barona Creek Golf Club underwent an ambitious turf reduction project last year to lower irrigation and maintenance needs to enhance its conservation of natural resources. Other environmental initiatives include Styrofoam recycling and an award-winning carpool program complete with low-emission buses.
Barona has also received numerous honors and accolades for its green practices. Barona has been recognized with the 2007 United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act Recognition Award, the 2006 San Diego Earthworks Earth Award for water resource management and the 2009 U.S. EPA Energy Star Award for superior energy efficiency. In addition, the Barona Creek Golf Club won the prestigious Bronze Signature Sanctuary Certification from Audubon International for its conservation, environmental quality and land management efforts.
About Barona Resort & Casino
Barona Resort & Casino includes 400 guest rooms and suites, award-winning dining options, the AmBience Day Spa, a full-service events center and the 18-hole championship Barona Creek Golf Club, rated the 3rd best resort course in California by Golfweek magazine. Barona Resort & Casino has also won the J.D. Power and Associates Award for “highest in satisfaction in the Southern California Indian Casino Gaming Experience.”
For Barona Resort & Casino reservations and information, visit www.barona.com, or call toll free 888-7-BARONA (722-7662). You can also join Barona Resort & Casino on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace at: www.barona.com/facebook, www.barona.com/twitter and www.barona.com/myspace.
For more information on LEED certification of green buildings, visit www.usgbc.org.