As the developer of Summerlin, The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) has long recognized and honored its responsibilities as a steward of the land. Even before the first family moved into the community in 1991, HHC demonstrated environmental responsibility in significant ways that charted the course for its development.

Establishing a Boundary to Forever Protect Red Rock Canyon

  • In 1952, Howard Hughes acquired 25,000 acres of land west of Las Vegas.

  • In the early 1980s, the development potential of the land was realized by Summa Corporation, predecessor to The Howard Hughes Corporation. Originally called “Husite”, the community was named Summerlin for Hughes’ paternal grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin. 

  • In 1988, HHC initiated a land exchange with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), giving up more than 5,000 acres of sensitive land adjacent to Red Rock Canyon in exchange for approximately 3,400 acres inside the valley, thereby protecting the Canyon’s scenic loop road experience from visible development.

  • This critically acclaimed exchange was facilitated by The Nature Conservancy and created a buffer zone that continues to protect Red Rock Canyon and serves as a gateway into the National Conservation Area.  

  • In 2001, HHC donated $30,000 to the BLM for new trail marker signage throughout Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. 

  • In 2002, HHC initiated a second exchange with the BLM in which more than 1,000 acres along Summerlin’s western border were added into the adjacent Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This exchange also set aside more than 1,200 acres of pristine BLM ridgeline for a future county trails park.

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Water Conservation

Summerlin was one of the Las Vegas valley's earliest adopters of desert landscaping and is credited with helping to improve the public image of low water-use landscapes. Summerlin began incorporating desert landscape into its common areas in the late 1990s. 

In 2003, Summerlin, in partnership with Southern Nevada Water Authority, became Southern Nevada’s first community to implement strict Water Smart conservation guidelines on a community-wide basis. This meant homebuilders could no longer install turf in front yards, only in small usable areas in backyards.  For common and public areas throughout Summerlin, turf is only used in parks to accommodate play areas and sports fields. 

Today, the community continues to replace older existing turf landscapes with desert friendly plant materials, savings millions of gallons of water each year. More recently, HHC is increasingly using salvaged native plant materials that use even less water than current desert landscaping.  Some of these re-veg landscapes eventually require no irrigation at all.

HHC executives have served on Southern Nevada Water Authority's Water Conservatino Coalition for years to encourage water conservation not only in Summerlin, but valleywide as well.

Summerlin continues to comply with Southern Nevada Water Authority development codes that minimize the amount of water consumed by new commercial and residential construction.

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Air Quality

In the mid-1990s, HHC executives served on a valley-wide development industry coalition that drafted the nation’s toughest self-imposed rules on dust control and air quality.  

  • Summerlin was the first community in southern Nevada to incorporate roundabouts into its roadway system. Roundabouts not only keep traffic moving better, they reduce pollution by eliminating idling at lights and stop signs.

  • The Summerlin Trail system provides safe routes so many children can walk to school without having to cross streets.  This reduces the number of cars on the road before and after school.  

  • Downtown Summerlin has 318 stalls for low emission vehicles and four stalls with electric vehicle charging devices.

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Preserving Land, Wildlife and History

Design innovations, such as the preservation of natural washes and arroyos that serve a dual use for parks and trails, are common throughout Summerlin.  

  • Natural landscapes and topography are integrated into the community wherever possible.

  • TPC Summerlin and TPC Las Vegas golf courses are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary golf courses dedicated to conserving water and preserving wildlife habitats.

  • HHC works closely with federal and state governments, as well as tribal leaders and the archaeological community, to protect historic American Indian rock art etched into the Little Red Rocks area in the far western region of Summerlin.

  • In 1998, HHC played a leadership role in the establishment of a development fee to fund a Desert Tortoise habitat in Southern Nevada – a widely acclaimed multi-species habitat program. 

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Summerlin currently has 150-plus miles of trails that connect neighborhoods and villages, encourage healthy, outdoor recreation and promote socialization with friends and neighbors.  

  • Summerlin gave more than 500 aces to Clark County for the construction of the 215 Beltway and along its alignment; plans for a regional trail system were included.  Today there are 10 miles of completed trail along the Beltway with more on the way.

  • Eventually, this regional trail system will connect to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area through Summerlin’s community trails.

  • In 2008, HHC received the American Trails Developer Award from American Trails, a non-profit organization dedicated to trail interests. The award recognizes quality, well-designed, multi-use trail systems. This was the first time the award was given to a private developer.

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Illegal Dumping

  • Through the years, The Howard Hughes Corporation has organized and hosted in partnership with private companies and public agencies, numerous desert clean-ups in and around Summerlin. These clean-ups have removed hundreds of tons of illegally dumped trash.

  • The company also encourages, welcomes and supports private groups, such as Eagle Scout projects, to organize smaller clean-ups in and around the community. 

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Downtown Summerlin Earns LEED Silver Certification

  • In 2016, Downtown Summerlin earned Silver Certification status in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

  • To achieve this remarkable certification for such a large project, the following milestones were achieved:  

    • 24.5 percent reduction in energy consumption to optimize energy performance

    • 40 percent reduction in water use for enhance water efficiency

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Smart Growth - New Urbanism

  • Master-planned communities, by their very nature, employ a variety of planning tactics to ensure smart growth and development in a thoughtful and more organized fashion.

  • Today, as Summerlin has continued to evolve, the community is focusing on creating higher density urban areas in and around Downtown Summerlin with future plans for nodes of higher density projects in the western region of Summerlin.

  • In Downtown Summerlin area, plans call for a number of multifamily residential options – including apartments, townhomes, condominiums and brownstones – to provide a true and more sustainable urban living experience. 

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