Arena, Aerial Rendering

The Future Of Net-Zero Carbon Sports Arenas, Thanks To Amazon

Written by Craig Bouchard

Jul 22 · 3 min read

After months of sitting idle, sports arena owners and operators are considering the future of sports and events. Human safety precautions are at the forefront of proposed innovation. However, many owners and operators are also contemplating ways to fight climate change, promote sustainability, and champion environmental health through the redesign and upgrade of arenas. Now, Amazon is on the front line of creating the world’s first net-zero carbon stadium in the world.

As reported by CNBC, Amazon secured the naming rights to the downtown Seattle NHL/WNBA arena in June. The e-commerce giant chose to name the stadium “Climate Pledge Arena”, an homage to its mission. Along with the name, Amazon shared plans to revamp the arena to become environmentally friendly. Proposed goals include zero-waste production, net-zero carbon standing, and 100% of the power produced by renewable energy. Early implementation of renewable energy sources at stadiums has begun to occur within the previous decade. However, the scope of this project will be the most expansive to date. If and when achieved, these goals will make the Climate Pledge Arena the first of its kind. Hopefully, it will set the standards for additional arenas to follow.

Solar Power Plans

Climate Pledge Arena’s renewable energy will come from a combination of on-site solar panels, and off-site renewable energy power. Not only will this elicit positive long-term environmental benefits, but it will also assist in keeping operational costs at bay. Owners and operators of stadiums already utilizing solar energy have been able to successfully minimize operating costs. Some owners have even achieved a cost-neutral operating model. Not only does the presence of sustainable energy models champion cost sustainability, but it also encourages local community sustainability goals. The visibility of solar use incites individuals to consider solar panels on their respective roofs. Meanwhile, community sustainability efforts inspire small businesses to adapt to solar panel usage. Change begets change, emboldening the evolution of clean energy.

Carbon Considerations

Amazon’s proposition for Climate Pledge Arena includes considerations to offset carbon emissions. All on-site events at Climate Pledge Arena “will be made fully net-zero carbon through investments in forestry projects with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy that will sequester any remaining carbon emissions from arena operations.” The performance of this metric will be regularly measured and disclosed publicly. This added transparency is part of Amazon’s participation in The Climate Pledge.

The Green Sports Alliance

Founded in 2010, the Green Sports Alliance focuses on incorporating sustainable features within the infrastructure of arenas. Currently, the organization advises nearly 200 professional sports teams across the United States. Green Sports Alliance assists stadium owners and operators in incorporating sustainability features appropriately. The organization focuses on championing stadium changes that lead to important certifications, like the LEED U.S. Green Building Council Certification. For the Climate Pledge Arena, the Green Sports Alliance will likely lend support to achieve the goals outlined by Amazon.

Post-Pandemic Safety

Redeveloping arenas for safe post-pandemic attendance, exorbitant energy is devoted to human wellness. These considerations include promoting ventilation and appropriate indoor air quality. Updated and effective HVAC systems can be expected, and the Climate Pledge Arena will feature an all-electric dehumidifier system.

Minimal Waste

Climate Pledge Arena will also feature measures designed to promote sustainability, minimization of waste, and environmentally friendly practices. By 2024, the use of single-use plastics will be banned at the arena. Thus, on-site “trash” containers will only be composed of a compost bin and a recycling bin. The arena will also boast the NHL’s “greenest ice”, as it will utilize reclaimed rainwater within the ice system.

Amazon’s Commitment To Sustainability

Keeping the focus on the arena’s important and innovative mission statement, Amazon’s branding will not be featured. Amazon’s Bezos has an overall goal of turning the giant net-zero carbon by 2040. The acquisition and evolution of the Climate Pledge Arena is an impressive step toward satisfying this large goal. After announcing Amazon’s Climate Pledge in the fall of 2019, Bezos and the team have been working diligently to champion sustainability, clean and renewable energy, and global education regarding climate change.