SOURCE: Barona Resort & Casino

Barona Resort & Casino

April 15, 2010 19:35 ET

Barona Resort & Casino Sets the Green Standard as the First Tribal Resort in the Country to Earn LEED™ Gold Certification From the U.S. Green Building Council

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - April 15, 2010) -  Today, Barona Resort & Casino announced 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
For the last two years in a row, Barona Resort & Casino has won the J.D. Power and Associates Award for the "Highest in Satisfaction in the Southern California Indian Casino Gaming Experience" in the J.D. Power and Associates Southern California Indian Gaming Casino Satisfaction Study.

Barona Resort & Casino blends the best of San Diego's leading resorts with the gaming excitement of Las Vegas. Barona is San Diego's leading destination resort featuring 400 guest rooms and suites, all with beautiful views of the Barona Valley, a variety of 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 received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2008-2009 Indian Gaming Casino Studies SM-Southern California Region. The 2009 study, which only surveys casinos with a minimum of 1,000 slot machines, is based on 4,452 responses from gaming players who visited an Indian casino in Southern California between December 2008 and May 2009. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in May 2009. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.

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.

U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, more than 20,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 100,000 LEED Accredited Professionals, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to soar to $60 billion by 2010. The USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system is the preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system, comprising over 5.6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation.

For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

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