Design and Construction, Green Building, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Climate Pledge Arena Achieves Zero Carbon Certification

Climate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, has become the first arena in the world to achieve the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Zero Carbon Certification.

“Our Zero Carbon Certification recognizes highly energy-efficient buildings that are designed and operated to fully account for their carbon emissions impacts,” explained 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.”

The arena opened in October 2021 and was named after The Climate Pledge, an initiative founded by Amazon and Global Optimism asking global corporations to become net-zero carbon by 2040—a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement.

“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,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, the arena’s operator. “Despite remarkable obstacles, today we celebrate this achievement for Climate Pledge Arena and the entire industry.”

Kara Hurst, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide sustainability, added, “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.”

Going Green

ILFI, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices, reviewed documentation and required 12 consecutive months of performance data to ensure Climate Pledge Arena meets the requirements of the Zero Carbon Certification.

In accordance with the 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, and the dehumidification system.

A key feature of the building certification program is that 100% 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 solar panels, the arena and Amazon have purchased and retired more than 100,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy certificates (RECs), some of which are from Puget Sound Energy’s Lower Snake River wind farm. The arena has also signed on to be one of the first commercial customers for Seattle City Light’s Renewable Plus program, which is projected to be available in 2025.

Climate Pledge 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. Learn more about the arena’s sustainability initiatives here.

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