Environment Sustainable Operations
Sustainable Buildings
Illustration of an Amazon building featuring a green roof, district energy heating system symbolizing sustainable offices.
Illustration of an Amazon building featuring a green roof, district energy heating system symbolizing sustainable offices.

Sustainable Buildings

Amazon operates hundreds of world-class facilities in cities across the globe that serve our customers and support our local communities. We are designing buildings that help lead the industry toward net-zero carbon, while improving the resource efficiency of our facilities and prioritizing the health and wellness of our building occupants.
Decarbonizing Our Buildings
In 2020, we launched an in-depth study of our operations facilities to examine the energy intensity of our buildings and identify ways to reduce carbon through energy efficiency enhancements, new technologies, and sustainable building materials. We have started applying these insights and are incorporating best practices into future building development plans.
Rendering of the new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington
In 2020, Amazon secured the naming rights to Climate Pledge Arena, slated to become the first net-zero carbon certified arena in the world. In November, the arena submitted its net-zero carbon registration to the International Living Future Institute, an industry leader in sustainable building practices. Construction plans for the arena preserve the building’s existing roof and expand the underground structure to reduce the embodied energy use typical of new construction.

The arena will feature all-electric operations systems powered by 100% renewable electricity from on-site solar panels and off-site renewable energy projects. Events at the arena will be made fully net-zero carbon by investing in forestry projects that sequester any remaining carbon emissions from the arena’s operations through nature-based solutions. Additional commitments include eliminating single-use plastics, conserving water, and producing zero waste from the arena’s operations.
A rendering of Amazon's PenPlace campus in Arlington, Virginia.
Plans for our second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia feature a range of carbon reduction solutions and energy efficiency enhancements, including highly efficient building systems, high-efficiency lighting with advanced controls, and a high-performing building envelope that facilitates climate control. All-electric central heating and cooling systems will eliminate on-site combustion for heating and domestic hot water, and a nearby solar farm will power the campus with 100% renewable energy. The buildings will incorporate locally sourced materials, to reduce the carbon impact of material transportation, and low-carbon materials, including low-carbon concrete supplemented with Carbon Cure technology, a Climate Pledge Fund investment.

Buildings across our Arlington HQ are designed to achieve LEEDv4 Platinum certification, the highest green building certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Our plans support the local community with five acres of landscaped public open space, new protected bike lanes, and urban design features that promote pedestrian connections and safety. Other human-centric design features include enhanced ventilation, increased access to daylight, and the Helix—an alternative work environment to support human connection with nature. The design of our Arlington HQ promotes wellness, collaboration, and connections to nature for the neighborhood and the 25,000 employees who will occupy the Arlington headquarters by 2025.
Amazon's Arlington Headquarters
Amazon's Arlington Headquarters
Sustainable Buildings Across Our Business
We support more than one million employees around the world who are innovating and working to serve customers in our global fulfillment centers, retail locations, data centers, corporate offices, tech hubs, and headquarters in the Puget Sound region of Washington state and Arlington, Virginia.
  • Corporate Offices
    Amazon’s global corporate offices are located in vibrant communities and urban hubs. Many of our corporate buildings offer plazas and open green spaces for communal and public use. Even more feature green roofs and other green infrastructure that provide outdoor amenity space while supporting ecological functions like green stormwater management. The interiors integrate biophilic design concepts, such as green walls and locally sourced woods, along with energy-efficient lighting, composting and recycling, and amenity spaces for employee wellness. Many of our buildings also offer plug-in electric vehicle charging stations, bike parking, and showers to encourage low-carbon transportation for employees and visitors.

    Our flagship Seattle campus features some of our most innovative sustainable design practices. Below ground, a district energy system heats many of our buildings in the Denny Triangle neighborhood using waste heat generated from a neighboring data center. Above ground, employees and visitors can enjoy The Spheres, an alternative workplace and indoor plant conservatory, with 40,000 plants from the cloud forest regions of more than 30 countries, and a 4,000-square-foot green wall. Many of our Seattle office towers are certified LEED Gold, incorporating holistic sustainability measures for energy and water conservation, improved indoor environmental quality, and healthy material selection.

    On the other side of the world, our offices in Munich are certified Gold for environmental design by the German Sustainable Building Council based on their energy-efficient interiors and use of sustainable building materials. In Luxembourg, efficient chillers and an advanced building management system cut energy costs, while rooftop beehives supply honey, and food is served in compostable and biodegradable containers.
  • Operations Facilities
    Amazon’s operations facilities include a variety of building types and sizes where we process orders for our customers. To minimize energy use, these facilities feature state-of-the-art technology and are designed with efficient building systems. We are expanding our use of building control system technology and real-time data analytics to optimize our heating and cooling systems for occupant comfort while operating as efficiently as possible. Through building retrofits and energy studies, we are continuously improving and optimizing the efficiency of our operations, uncovering savings opportunities, and driving carbon out of our fulfillment operations.

    Many of our operations facilities throughout the U.S., Europe, and India are powered by on-site solar, where a rooftop installation can power up to 80% of a facility’s energy use. As of June 2021, we have more than 90 rooftop solar installations on operations facilities around the world and we continue to scale this program globally.
  • Amazon Physical Stores
    Amazon Physical Stores provide a range of retail and grocery shopping experiences for our customers. Our physical stores use highly efficient LED lighting, with energy-reducing lighting controls, and incorporate natural daylighting techniques, such as skylights and large windows. We also utilize energy-efficient heating and cooling systems to reduce energy consumption. Across our grocery channels, we are replacing conventional refrigerants with natural alternatives that have a lower ozone depletion and global warming potential. In many of our new physical stores, we are increasing our use of doored cases for refrigerated products, enhancing energy efficiency and maintaining product quality for longer durations.

    More than 30 of our Whole Foods Market stores already use refrigerants with low global warming potential and more than 100 facilities are adopting an alternative refrigerant from Honeywell. Among them is a flagship location in Brooklyn, New York, where state-of-the-art refrigeration and energy systems make the store approximately 60% more efficient than the average grocery store. Locations near San Francisco use advanced cloud computing, predictive analytics, and thermal energy storage to modulate their refrigeration systems during peak energy. Whole Foods Market is a founding member of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council and a founding partner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill program, which helps food retailers transition to alternative refrigerants, reduce refrigerant charge sizes, eliminate leaks, and adopt green refrigeration technologies.
  • Data Centers
    AWS is continuously working to increase the efficiency of our facilities, and our scale allows us to achieve higher resource utilization and efficiency than typical on-premises data centers. When possible, we incorporate direct evaporative technology for cooling our data centers, reducing energy and water consumption. During cooler months, outside air is directly supplied to the data center without using any water. During the hottest months of the year, outside air is cooled through an evaporative process using water before being pushed into the server rooms, and we have optimized our cooling systems to minimize water usage. AWS has also demonstrated our commitment to water stewardship by using reclaimed or recycled water instead of potable water in multiple regions, and we are working with local utilities to expand the use of reclaimed water.

    We are also working to reduce the embodied carbon of our new data centers. Embodied carbon is the carbon emitted during the extraction, manufacturing, and transportation of materials to the data center construction site. It is dispersed in the atmosphere before the data center is operational. We are starting by reducing embodied carbon in the primary structural materials used in our data centers, concrete and steel. By reducing the cement content in our concrete and sourcing steel from electric arc furnace mills, we can reduce the embodied carbon in the structure of our data centers by at least 20%. These requirements are already included in projects in Dublin, Singapore, and San Francisco, and will be standard in our AWS-operated data centers by the end of 2021.
In Ireland, AWS is collaborating with the City of Dublin, the South Dublin County Council, and Fortum, a Finnish energy supply company, to bring district heating to South Dublin. By the end of 2021, recycled heat from an AWS data center will provide a low-carbon, low-cost source of heat for public sector, residential, and commercial customers in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght. This custom-built district heating scheme—the first of its kind in Ireland—helps support the country’s renewable energy targets.
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