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Seattle Kraken Climate Pledge Arena committed to net zero carbon emissions

(Photo courtesy of “Climate Pledge Arena located by the skyline of Seattle.”

Steven O’Hara
Connector Editor

Sustainability is a major goal for many businesses and groups in the active face off against Climate Change. In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Jeff Bezos and the Seattle Kraken have worked together to implement their own actions for the betterment of our planet. Located at the Seattle Center and originally built in 1962, the Climate Pledge Arena is a fully functioning stadium that doubles as a sports arena and is an active fighter in the war for sustainability.

Originally known as the Seattle Center Arena, this building has undergone massive changes in the past few years, evolving this 74-year-old landmark into a new and improved home for the Seattle Kraken. With a heavy allowance of one billion dollars, the Climate Pledge Arena was reopened in 2021 after three years of construction, turning this Seattle institution into a place where sports fans can thrive and limit their impacts on the environment. The updated design of the building kept the historic parts of the roof and outer segments while doubling the arena’s size for a higher seat capacity and modernizing the concession stands and other services. In 2016, the city of Seattle announced they were moving to redesign and update the Seattle Center Arena, originally with no intention of focusing on sustainable design. However, it wasn’t until Amazon bought the naming rights for the new stadium and used it to promote carbon neutral operations and their own pledge of zero emission construction that the redesigning process began. After 56 years of operation, the building closed in 2018 and its reconstruction began.

Internally, the infrastructure and design of the building has met all standards to claim itself a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standard and is also working to achieve a Zero Carbon Certification from the International Living Future Institute which could make it the first net zero arena in the world. This would set a new standard for already existing commercial infrastructures and set a precedent for the implementation of sustainable design. To achieve these claims, many new features were added to Climate Pledge Arena, including: 100% renewable energy sourced from on-sight solar panels, elimination of single-use plastics, usage of reclaimed rainwater and refrigerants for the ice hockey rink, waterless urinals and efficient locker room showers, an on-site retention tank for stormwater runoff reduction and so much more.

However, the fight for a cleaner and more sustainable Seattle did not end at the stadium’s construction. NHL Seattle and the WNBA are currently encouraging the use of public transportation through free public transit passes to reduce carbon emissions by commuting fans. As well, the teams are investing in forestry projects for carbon emission sequestering around the arena for any excess carbon emissions that may occur; with more trees planted around the arena, they’ve created a way to naturally eliminate harmful gasses in the air and provide a more natural appearance. These initiatives were all implemented with the backing of the same groups who influenced the sustainable design of Climate Pledge Arena.

In an agreement made by Oak View Group, an investment company for most sports and entertainment programs, and NHL Seattle, donations will be made to The Climate Pledge created by Amazon. This initiative aims to encourage companies worldwide to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040; as of 2022, thirty-one companies have joined this pledge. With the constantly changing climate of the world, both naturally and politically, it is good to know that at least one business is focused on making Earth a more sustainable place.

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