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Climate Pledge Arena delivers on zero-carbon promise

Featured image credit: Sea Cow/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED/Edited for size

Climate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and WNBA team Seattle Storm, has claimed a world first after receiving zero-carbon certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

The certification is awarded to energy-efficient buildings that can demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon footprint and offset the remaining embodied carbon and energy use through high-impact offset programmes.

Climate Pledge Arena opened in 2021 on the site of the former KeyArena. Prior to the arena’s opening, Seattle-headquartered Amazon acquired naming rights to the venue to promote The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The zero-carbon certification completes the promise made by Amazon, the Kraken and developer Oak View Group when the Climate Pledge Arena name was announced in June 2020.

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

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.

The certification programme states that 100% of the energy used by the arena must come from renewable energy sources. To help achieve this, the arena installed a range of solar panels on the roof of the atrium and on the adjacent parking garage.

To complement the electricity generated by the solar panels, Climate Pledge Arena and Amazon purchased and retired more than 100,000 MW hours of renewable energy certificates. The facility has also pledged to be one of the first commercial customers for Seattle City Light’s Renewable Plus programme, which is structured to provide renewable energy for the arena.

Lindsay Baker, ILFI chief executive, said: “Our zero-carbon certification recognises 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 Climate Pledge Arena. We are thrilled to see the arena become the first arena to achieve this.”

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Oak View Group, added: “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.

“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.”