And will we ever get to sit this close together?

Zestless, impersonal…sounds suspiciously like something Alexa came up with, right? When Amazon announced its name for the new home of the Storm and Kraken (now that’s original), some locals deemed the monotonous moniker another example of big tech sapping the city of its creativity. Others called Climate Pledge Arena straight-up greenwashing, given Amazon’s contracts with fossil fuel companies, among other climate shortcomings.

But the partners behind Seattle Center’s new green dome—Amazon, the Kraken, and developer Oak View Group—have released a plan, complete with an electric Zamboni, that could become a blueprint for sustainable stadium building around the world. The group will ultimately try to nab a net Zero Carbon Certification from nonprofit International Living Future Institute, which would be the first time an arena has achieved that environmentally friendly status. “We wanted to go beyond anything that had been done,” says Jason F. McLennan, the project’s sustainability lead and CEO of green consulting and architecture firm McLennan Design.

Here’s how they’ll maintain a carbon-neutral zone when the puck drops in 2021.

Even the Zamboni machine will run on electric.

An Electric Atmosphere

Forget about the, er, Krakheads erupting pregame. The arena will run entirely on renewable energy—no fossil fuels. That’s basically unheard of. Off-site solar and wind farms, as well as arrays atop the parking garage and entry pavilion, will guarantee that the building is all-electric, all the time.

Shooting for Zero

A massive construction project can’t promise total decarbonization in 2020 with a straight face. So the arena’s builders will “offset” emissions through investments in forestry projects that sequester carbon, aiming to reach a “net zero” footprint. The arena’s goal, and its name, descend from the Climate Pledge, a pact Amazon cofounded to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. That’s a decade ahead of the global target set forth by leaders on climate.

Traffic Beat

Storm and Kraken tix will double as free public transit passes to tamp down tailpipe pollution, one attempt to offset a game’s total carbon cost.

Taking Out the Trash Cans

Fans will only find compost and recycling bins in the concourse, and the arena will phase out all single-use plastics by 2024 as part of the center’s commitment to net zero waste.

Green Ice 

Not literally. But the Kraken will skate across a surface directly derived from our soggy environment. Cisterns will store rainwater reclaimed from the building’s sloped roof. Electric filtration and dehumidification systems will ensure the resulting freeze meets NHL standards.

A helicopter may have hauled away its glowing logo, but the old KeyArena roof will remain intact atop the new building. It’s not just for nostalgia’s sake. Keeping the roughly 44-million-pound historical landmark in place will reduce the structure’s embodied carbon, or the emissions tied to its construction and materials.


A Pledge Isn’t a Guarantee

Amazon’s own climate journey shows just how fraught one can be:

 

15
 
Percent rise in the company’s carbon footprint between 2018 and 2019.
42
 
Percent of company’s energy use that was renewable in 2019. Its goal is 100 percent by 2025.
400
 
Company employees quoted in a Medium post decrying Amazon’s threat to fire employees who spoke out against its environmental policies.
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