Climate Pledge Arena decarbonization feat



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Climate Pledge Arena received zero carbon certification Image: Climate Pledge Arena, Sea Cow, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington (US) and the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) announced on October 13th that the arena has achieved Zero Carbon Certification.

‘CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA’ stated that 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. The Climate Pledge Arena is the first arena in the world to receive this certification and completes the bold promise the Oak View Group, Amazon and the National Hockey League (NHL) team Seattle Kraken made when they announced the arena name in June 2020.

The 18,300-capacity Climate Pledge Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is located North of Downtown Seattle in the 74-acre entertainment complex known as the Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, for which it was originally developed. The arena is home to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA’s) Seattle Storm and the world’s biggest performers of live music and events. The arena is named after The Climate Pledge, an initiative founded by Amazon and Global Optimism asking global corporations to become net zero carbon by 2040. The Climate Pledge Arena has one of the most progressive sustainability programs of any building its size, including being the world’s first Zero Carbon Certified arena. The Climate Pledge Arena opened on October 19th, 2021.

The Seattle Kraken is a professional ice hockey team based in Seattle (US). The Kraken competes in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference and began play during the league’s 2021-2022 seasons. They play their home games at the Climate Pledge Arena.

The Seattle Storm is an American professional basketball team based in Seattle. The Storm competes in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference. The Climate Pledge Arena serves as their residence.

Los Angeles (US)-based the Oak View Group (OVG) is a global sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff in 2015. The OVG’s mission is to be a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports, live entertainment and hospitality industries. The OVG is world-renowned as the leading full service live entertainment and hospitality group.

Seattle (US)-based the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. The Institute is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The Institute operates the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most advanced, holistic performance standard for buildings. It is a hub for many other visionary programs that support the transformation toward a living future.

Amazon is an American multinational technology company that specializes in e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence (AI). It was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and is based in Seattle, Washington. Amazon is the largest Internet-based store in the world by total sales and market capitalization. Amazon is guided by four principles: Customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.

Amazon purchased the naming rights to the Climate Pledge Arena in June 2020. Amazon named the arena the ‘Climate Pledge Arena’ to honor The Climate Pledge, a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019. The Climate Pledge is a call for companies and organizations to commit to net-zero carbon by 2040. In securing the naming rights of the historic arena in June 2020, Amazon named it the Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of acting to fighting climate change.

‘CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA’ quoted the ILFI head honcho Lindsay Baker as stating, “Our Zero Carbon Certification recognizes highly energy-efficient buildings that are designed and operated to fully account for their carbon emissions impacts. 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 the Climate Pledge Arena. We are thrilled to see the arena become the first arena to achieve this.”

Commented Tim Leiweke, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oak View Group (OVG), “In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 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 (October 13th) we celebrate this achievement for the Climate Pledge Arena and the entire industry. The 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.”

Said Kara Hurst, Vice-President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, “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. 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 the sports and entertainment fans to continue to experience all the arena has to offer.”

The ILFI, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices, reviewed documentation and required 12 consecutive months of performance data to ensure it meets the certification requirements of the net Zero Carbon standard.

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 (a tractor-like machine that resurfaces ice on an ice rink. It’s used to groom skating rinks, especially for professional use) and the dehumidification system.

Added Jason F. McLennan, Principal, McLennan Design and OVG Sustainability Consultant, “Since the construction process began, the 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. 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. The arena has also pledged to be one of the first commercial customers for Seattle City Light’s (the public utility providing electricity to Seattle) 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.

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