From the rooftops, a luxury casino-resort is embracing solar

City of Dreams Manila out to prove they are an environmentally responsible business

By Hector Zabala

Paranaque City—City of Dreams (COD) Manila’s complex gold motif facade is so cosmically linked with the brand that it’s hard to imagine the luxury casino-resort ever messing with the gold design of an egg-shaped dome and exposed exoskeleton mesh structure wrapped around two towers. But recently, COD Manila—with inputs from clients, shareholders and employees—seems to be morphing into a very different hue: eco-green.

Sustainable kick-off. COD Manila’s solar energy system can generate power equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of more than 7,000 typical households.
The joint venture between Macau Casino giant Melco and SM-led Belle Corp. is best known for its posh casino, three hotels ( Nüwa Manila, Nobu and Hyatt Regency), and  Hollywood actors Robert De Niro, Leonardo Di Caprio and director Martin Scorsese lending their screen gravitas to pitch the resort’s VIP and mass-market gaming facilities.

Now, the Paranaque City complex seems intent on embracing the renewable energy passions of its potential millennial base, and is adding rooftop solar panels to its structure to generate renewable electricity at a fast pace.

Friend of the planet

“[The solar power facility] is a significant step in our vision to be sustainable in our operations,” said Kevin Benning, COD’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. “Utilizing clean and renewable energy is only one of our numerous green initiatives and we hope that as we set the bar for sustainable operations, we also inspire positive change as we all take part in the growing movement toward a more sustainable future.”

COD Manila”s Manila new 1.2-megawatt solar power facility is an initiative in partnership with Meralco’s renewable energy subsidiary, Spectrum, and global professional services company, GHD.

This makes COD the first integrated resort in the country to harness solar energy for its operations.

The facility is composed of a total of 3,120 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels blanketing the topmost level of COD’s parking building. These panels convert light into electricity using semiconducting materials and have guaranteed generating capacity of almost 2,000 megawatt hour per year. That’s equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of more than 7,000 typical households.

Through this solar solution—often considered the best form of renewable energy as it creates no waste or emissions—the integrated resort will be able to operate using 20 percent solar energy, which will also reduce its carbon emissions by 1,000 tons. That’s the same amount of carbon dioxide 270 passenger cars (annually) release.

Benning described the installation as having three phases, including more solar panels on top of the Hyatt Regency tower and the pool deck.

Benning and Genuino explaining to the press how the solar rooftop  would reduce  carbon emissions of the resort by more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year,  “equal to  the amount of CO2 emissions sequestered from 1,500 acres (600 hectares) of trees each year.”
“That was the first start, the 3,200 [solar] panels,” he said in an interview with Manila Standard. He also revealed that  the investment for the first stage was at P76 million.

Meralco’s Spectrum in the RE game

CoD Manila is also considering to tap Meralco’s renewable-energy (RE) subsidiary Spectrum to provide more solar panels for the luxury integrated casino resort.

“It’s already under review. We are currently evaluating our roof deck where we can build additional panels. We will be done this year with our evaluation,” added Benning.

Spectrum is hopeful it can seal another contract with CoD. Benning said it only took “less than eight months” upon contract signing with Spectrum for CoD to harness solar power. 

The City of Dreams Manila’s solar project is the single largest installation in a commercial rooftop. Why did Meralco, a company whose core business comes from the distribution of electricity, set up a subsidiary that effectively reduces consumption? 

Spectrum president and Meralco first vice president Victor Genuino’s reply:  “The simple answer is because our customers, demanded it. Our customers are evolving. They are becoming more conscious of their impact to diminishing resources—and they want to do something about it.” 

Business partners, like City of Dreams Manila, “are a prime example of this rising social involvement by integrating sustainability into their business DNA,” added Genuino. 

The Spectrum chief revealed that the energy that can be produced by the first installation at COD Manila “is equivalent to 923,820 kilograms of carbon footprint reduction.”

COD Manila houses more than 20 restaurants and bars, and entertainment venues, including the family entertainment center, DreamPlay, the world’s first DreamWorks-themed interactive play space, and The Garage.

Topics: City of Dreams , Macau Casino , Melco , Solarpanels
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