The name comes from the “Climate Pledge” announced in September by Amazon, which became the first signatory to a pact aimed at bringing companies in line with the carbon-neutral and renewable energy-use goals of the Paris accord. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
The Seattle edifice set to bear the name of that initiative “will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, generate zero waste from operations and events, and use reclaimed rainwater in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL,” Bezos said in a social media post Thursday.
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I’m excited to announce that Amazon has bought the naming rights to the historic Seattle arena previously known as KeyArena. Instead of calling it Amazon Arena, we’re naming it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action. It will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, generate zero waste from operations and events, and use reclaimed rainwater in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL. #ClimatePledge
The new arena is being built in downtown Seattle at the site of KeyArena, which has been undergoing a massive facelift since last year. As part of its commitment to minimizing carbon waste, KeyArena’s 44-million-pound roof will be retained, Amazon said.
The drastic overhaul of KeyArena, which opened in 1962 and was home to the NBA’s SuperSonics before they left for Oklahoma City in 2008, is meant to give the facility a rebirth ahead of the arrival of the NHL next year. Many in the city are also hoping that having a state-of-the art arena will help lure the NBA back, possibly in an expansion that could occur within a few years.
Other planned aspects of Climate Pledge Arena include:
- At least 75 percent of its food offerings sourced locally on a seasonal basis, with viable unused items donated to community food programs.
- Zero single-use plastic items and no trash bins; patrons will only have the choice of recycling or compost bins (via nhl.com).
- The ability of NHL and WNBA fans to use their game tickets as free public transit passes.
- The sole use of renewable energy, from on-site solar panels and off-site sources.
“This will be the most complicated engineering feat of any arena, ever,” Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, whose firm is partnering with Amazon on the project, told ESPN. “But we can do it. It’s not going to be cheap. But we understand exactly what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to find a way to really focus on trying to heal this planet. We’ve got to step up here and try to help the Earth, because it’s sick.”
According to the Seattle Times, the arena project has a cost of $930 million pegged to it, and among its early issues was a switch from natural gas, which is widely used to dehumidify ice rinks, to an all-electric operation.
“This is about as hard a building site to do this stuff in,” Jason McLennan, a lead sustainability consultant on the project, told the newspaper. “It’s a lot easier to do what we’re talking about in office buildings or schools or people’s homes. So if you can do this all in an arena, then the message here is there’s no excuse for not thinking about this with everything.”
Welcome to the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world.@amazon, #NHLSeattle & @oakviewgroup are excited to announce a partnership to name our future home Climate Pledge Arena & use our platform to take action against climate change → https://t.co/BrbV4rDOOO pic.twitter.com/I6FBf1euIK— NHL Seattle (@NHLSeattle_) June 25, 2020