Climate Pledge Arena has become the first arena in the world to receive the International Living Future Institute's Zero Carbon Certification.
The achievement was announced Friday on the arena's website.
According to the announcement, the certification is awarded to buildings that are energy efficient, can demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon footprint and offset the remaining embodied carbon and energy use through high-impact offset programs. Climate Pledge Arena is the first arena in the world to receive this certification and completes the bold promise Oak View Group, Amazon and the Seattle Kraken made when they announced the arena name in June 2020.
“Our Zero Carbon Certification recognizes highly energy efficient buildings that are designed and operated to fully account for their carbon emissions impacts,” said ILFI CEO Lindsay Baker. “All operational energy use must be offset by new on- or off-site renewable energy and all embodied carbon emissions associated with construction and materials must be disclosed and offset. This is a significant undertaking, especially for as large and complex a project as Climate Pledge Arena. We are thrilled to see the arena become the first arena to achieve this.”
“In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, Oak View Group, in partnership with the Seattle Kraken and Amazon, set the most audacious sustainability goal ever in the sports and entertainment industry – to build the first arena to be net zero carbon. Despite remarkable obstacles, today we celebrate this achievement for Climate Pledge Arena and the entire industry,” commented Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. “Climate Pledge Arena’s ILFI Zero Carbon certification should be an inspiration to every future arena project worldwide because we now know anything is possible, and this is so incredibly necessary.”
“Every day we work towards our Climate Pledge commitment of reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, and the arena’s ILFI certification demonstrates the progress we can make when Climate Pledge signatories work together,” said Kara Hurst, Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “I’m proud of the teams who have worked together to bring the world’s first official net zero carbon arena to life, and I’m excited for sports and entertainment fans to continue to experience all the arena has to offer.”
ILFI, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices, reviewed documentation and required twelve consecutive months of performance data to ensure it meets the certification requirements of the net Zero Carbon standard.
The arena is home to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and WNBA's Seattle Storm, as well as live entertainment events. In accordance with the zero carbon certification, the arena eliminated all planned natural gas uses from the building and converted them to all electric, including the building heating system, the Zamboni ice resurfacer and the dehumidification system.
“Since the construction process began, Climate Pledge Arena has set a real milestone for the sports and entertainment industry and this certification is proof of what can be accomplished with passion and determination to lower climate change impacts,” added Jason F. McLennan, a principal at McLennan Design and an OVG sustainability consultant. “I’m incredibly proud of the team and this accomplishment.”
A key feature of the building certification program is that 100 percent of the energy used by the arena must come from renewable energy sources. To help achieve this the arena installed an array of solar panels on the roof of the atrium and on the adjacent parking garage. To complement the electricity generated by the arena’s solar panels, the Arena and Amazon have purchased and retired more than 100,000 MW hours of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), some of which are from Puget Sound Energy’s Lower Snake River wind farm. The arena has also pledged to be one of the first commercial customers for Seattle City Light’s Renewable Plus program, a program structured to provide renewable energy for the arena, which is projected to be available in 2025.
The arena went beyond the zero carbon certification to introduce additional sustainability measures including offering free public transit with every game or event ticket and eliminating fan facing single use plastics.
The Climate Pledge, announced in 2019 by Amazon and Global Optimism, calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040—a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement. In securing the naming rights of the historic arena in June 2020, Amazon named it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of acting to fighting climate change.