WORLD OF CONCRETE from Feb. 4-8 is a showcase of green products and services for the industry. But venture outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, and you will find some of the country's most interesting sustainable construction projects only minutes away.

Springs Preserve

A 180-acre national historical site featuring botanical gardens, trails, historical structures, and wildlife exhibits was a water source for Native Americans and pioneers. The LEED Platinum-certified Visitors' Center and Desert Living Center feature an Inside Out exhibit explaining the structures' unique construction.

Straw bales and rammed earth-covered concrete stem walls are the main building materials. Their unique sustainable design takes advantage of passive solar energy and recycled materials. Be sure to ask about an earth-sheltered concrete portion of the Nevada State History museum on the north side of the campus. Visit www.springspreservce.org.

RTC Bonneville Transit Terminal

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada built this showcase of sustainability in 2010, with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The 21,000-square-foot bus terminal earned LEED Platinum certification, in part by diverting 75 percent of construction waste from landfills, using 10 percent recycled content, and 20 percent regional materials. Visit www.rtcsnv.com.

University of Nevada Las Vegas

The main campus features two new LEED-certified buildings. Greenspun Hall (LEED Gold) is a five-story, 120,000-square-foot facility with a distinctive photovoltaic shade canopy. Seventy-five percent of post-construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled; 20 percent of construction materials were sourced from within 500 miles.

The Science and Engineering Building (LEED Silver) features polished concrete floors and 500 tons of natural stone. Researchers are investigating, among other things, the properties of nanomaterials, a growing area of focus for the cement and concrete industry.

The university is also planning to build an Instructional Lab Building targeting LEED Silver or higher. Visit www.unlv.edu.

The Venetian/The Palazzo/Sands Expo

The 8 million-square-foot Palazzo was touted as the first major LEED-certified project on the Las Vegas Strip when it earned a LEED Silver rating for new construction in 2008. It was built mainly with concrete and steel, which both included recycled materials (concrete, 26 percent; steel, 95 percent). More than 70 percent of construction waste, or 42,000 tons, was sorted and recycled. The adjoining Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center earned LEED Gold ratings for existing buildings in 2010.

Owner Las Vegas Sands Corp. has launched the Sands Eco 360° Global Sustainable Development program for all of its future operations. The program reportedly saves $4 for every $1 invested, including construction and development, operational maintenance, and commitment to local communities. Visit www.lasvegassands.com.

City Center

The Strip's newest megadevelopment includes six LEED Gold-certified properties: the Aria Hotel Tower, Aria Convention Center and Showroom, Mandarin Oriental, Crystals retail center, Veer Towers, and Vdara Hotel and Spa. Rinker Materials Las Vegas (now Cemex) produced more than 60 mix designs, many including recycled materials such as fly ash, to meet special demands for compressive strength and performance.

Since the buildings were designed with LEED certification in mind, structures that were demolished to prepare the construction site were recycled and reused. More than 260,000 tons of construction waste was diverted from landfills, including more than 80% of the former Boardwalk Hotel. Visit www.citycenter.com.

For more details, including videos and interactive tours of these and other sustainable destinations, visit www.theconcreteproducer.com.