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Climate Pledge Arena
(Photo courtesy of Climate Pledge Arena)

Lifestyle

Climate Pledge Arena is making history as Seattle’s (and the world’s) first ever net-zero carbon music venue

In the shadow of the Space Needle sits an iconic pyramid roof which used to house KeyArena, and featured everyone from the departed Super Sonics to iconic musical acts like Daft Punk. In the past two years, the venue underwent a face lift in order to become the new home of the Seattle Kraken. While the recognizable pyramid roof can still be visible (it is a national landmark after being built for the 1962 World’s Fair along with the Space Needle), the bones of the newly-minted Climate Pledge Arena are all new.

While a remodel has paved the way for a state of the art hockey arena and live event space, what’s most exciting about the venue is what you can’t see. Climate Pledge Arena is aptly named for the sustainability efforts that have taken the arena into a new century, leading Climate Pledge Arena to become the first net-zero carbon emissions event space in the Northwest, and a pioneer in event sustainability nationwide.

Massive Attack raised awareness

In 2019, prolific trio Massive Attack raised awareness of a lack of climate change protections in the music industry by commissioning a research study using their own tour as a jumping off point for what changes can be made to mitigate climate change impacts industry wide. That included everything carbon offsets, utilizing green energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and utilizing local materials whenever possible.

This became the first rallying cry for climate change supporters in the music industry, as the first major profile highlighting a lack of responsbility and legislation for an industry that prides itself on massive events in beautiful locations across the globe.

While Massive Attack paved the way for the discussion on climate change, few strides had been made to adopt the practices outline in their study. Until now.

Highlighting the Climate Pledge

Climate Pledge Arena is a first-of-its-kind venue in several ways. But beyond that it is the first real stride to mitigate climate change on a large scale. Those efforts that will trickle all the way down to music events here in the PNW.

Here are some of the main climate change efforts the arena will be following.

Carbon Zero: There will be zero fossil fuels consumed for daily operations of the arena. That includes heating, cooling, cooking, and other machines.

All of their power has been converted to electric. Additionally, solar panels were installed all along the iconic roof, and offset renewable energy plants will funnel in the rest of the energy needed to maintain the arena. Aside from the net-zero carbon emissions, they will purchase carbon offsets for things they cannot control, such as transportation, to ensure that even if carbon emissions cannot be avoided, at least they will still be honoring their pledge.

Zero Use Single Plastic: Anyone from the PNW became familiar with this concept when Washington became a leader in ending consumption of single-use plastic statewide. Single use plastic almost never gets recycled and ends up in landfills where it does not biodegrade, instead leeching its chemical structure into the neighboring environment while slowly causing pollution. CPA is the first arena to eliminate single use plastic and is “committed to being 100% free of single-use plastics by 2024.”

Water Conservation: A series of water collection tanks were installed on the roof. As a geographical area that receives 198 days a year of rain on average, this is certainly a no brainer.

A lack of water is a huge climate change issue, as climate change can be linked to rising temperatures which leads to droughts and waterways to dry up. Additionally, all of the bathrooms in the arena have waterless tanks and water-saving showers. With water conservation comes the question of wastewater, which is a huge ocean polluter. CPA has installed tanks to collect the water runoff from the facility which will then recycle the water for the arena’s use.

Zero Waste: Lastly, properly removing and disposing of waste mean less trash and hazardous materials collecting in the environment that can lead to many different climate issues including pollution. CPA has a dedicated system of sorting the arena’s waste properly and have adopted composting practices for all of their food stalls. Additionally, it will have state of the art trash bins inside for the public to use that will include trash, recycling, and composting bins.

A green show when Swedish House Mafia comes to Seattle

It’s an exciting prospect to get to see events in such a new facility with all these bells and whistles. What’s even more exciting is that CPA will become the leader in green music events. We were all excited to hear that Swedish House Mafia will be stopping by the venue on their reunion tour in 2022. This show just got a whole lot more important, because it will be the first large scale EDM event in the country to be in a fully net-zero space.

If you were on the fence about going before (which is totally crazy by the way, you absolutely should be going), these climate initiatives are all the more reason to go, because efforts like these need to be supported if they are going to be adopted industry and nation wide. Today Climate Pledge Arena, tomorrow Madison Square Garden.

Climate change issues surround us all and we are fortunate enough to live in a state that truly understands these issues and are taking large strides in mitigating them. While we all have made our own impact through small acts every day, the state and private investment groups are making those changes more impactful. Every time we go to watch the Kraken at home or when we go out to support Swedish House Mafia we are support climate change initiatives and honestly that’s pretty dang cool!

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