What is the “climate commitment” that gave the Seattle hockey arena its name?
Dear EarthTalk: What is the “climate commitment” that gave Seattle’s new hockey arena its name?
– E. Howard, Washington, DC
When Seattle’s new sports and concert arena opened to the public in October, many wondered what the building’s name meant. As it turns out, his hometown e-commerce juggernaut, Amazon, bought the naming rights and decided to take the opportunity to raise awareness about the Climate Pledge. The Climate Pledge calls on companies to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, a decade earlier than expected in the terms of the Paris climate agreement. Amazon co-founded the Climate Pledge with organizer Global Optimism in 2019, and immediately became the first signatory. Coupé to Present and 200 other companies, including Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Visa and PepsiCo, have since signed on.
Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena is indeed a centerpiece of what the signatory companies hope to achieve. The new building, home to the expanding National Hockey League, the Seattle Kraken, as well as the National Women’s Basketball League, the Seattle Storm, was designed by architect Jason McLennan. As the founder of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), McLennan helped set the standard for how buildings are likely to perform in the days to come with carbon constraints. Indeed, ILFI’s Living Building Challenge certifies buildings ‘net-zero’ and others at the end of the sustainability spectrum while advocating for tighter standards for new construction in terms of reduction / elimination. emissions and energy efficiency in the United States and beyond.
At Climate Pledge Arena, rooftop solar panels account for most, if not all of the energy needs. No fossil fuels are used indoors, making it the world’s first net zero arena of its size. The move away from fossil fuels indoors makes transport to and from the arena the biggest contributor to its overall carbon footprint. Amazon is stepping up and paying for carbon offsets through the nonprofit Nature Conservancy, which purchases and expands farm and forest land that serves as carbon sinks. Additionally, fans who purchase tickets through the Climate Pledge Arena app can download free transit vouchers to get there and back.
Reusing rainwater is an important part of achieving the goals of the Living Building Challenge, and Climate Pledge Arena was designed from the ground up to use a series of chutes and gutters to channel the prodigious rainwater. from Seattle to cisterns which then feed the arena’s ice-making processes and all other water needs on-site.
Another aspect of the arena’s green appeal is that 75 percent of the food and beverage ingredients served come from sources within 300 miles of the facility, dramatically reducing ‘food miles’ emissions. “. Single-use plastics are prohibited; sellers should stick to aluminum or biodegradable / compostable containers, straws, cutlery and take-out packaging. All paper products must contain at least 30 percent post-consumer content while cans, bottles and other non-compostable products are recycled. Since no “garbage” will be created inside the arena, visitors will have to get used to seeing only composting and recycling bins for their waste.
Only time will tell if these green features will become the norm in other arenas and new buildings elsewhere in the future. Conservationists, among others, certainly hope so.
CONTACTS: Climate Pledge Arena: Sustainability, climatepledgearena.com/sustainability; “Climate Pledge Arena Goes On The Offensive With Sustainability Goals,” kuow.org/stories/Climate-pledge-arena-goes-on-offensive-with-climate-goals; The Climate Pledge, theclimatepledge.com.
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