An Amazon Fresh store in North Seattle is the world’s first grocery store to be certified as Zero Carbon by an international nonprofit promoting sustainable buildings. It’s also the first Amazon site to land the designation, the company announced on Thursday.
The 35,000-square-foot store includes a refrigeration system using natural refrigerants, a kitchen and hot water heating system powered by electricity instead of natural gas, floors made of a low-carbon concrete, and electric-vehicle charging for customers.
The ultra-green grocery supports Amazon’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2040. This summer the cloud, retail and entertainment behemoth reported that its emissions for the first time declined slightly from 2021 to 2022, marking a 0.4% reduction.
To achieve Zero Carbon status, a new building must use low-carbon materials in construction and operate in an energy efficient manner, according to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). The Amazon Fresh store, which was completed in 2022, had its operations reviewed for 12 months by ILFI.
The project must additionally pay for offsets to cancel out the carbon impacts of construction and also fund the creation of new renewable power either on- or offsite from the building.
ILFI CEO Lindsay Baker praised Amazon’s leadership.
“A grocery store showing how to be accountable for all its carbon — from construction and materials to operations — is impactful from both a customer and industry perspective,” Baker said in a statement.
Amazon is aiming for additional Zero Carbon certifications for three Amazon Go locations in Los Angeles and an Amazon Same-Day site in Sacramento.
“At Amazon, we’re building a best-in-class grocery shopping experience, and part of that is bringing customers more sustainable options across our stores,” said Tony Hoggett, senior vice president of Amazon’s Worldwide Grocery Stores.
A short distance from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters is another ILFI certified building. In 2015, the Bullitt Center earned ILFI’s highest designation, the Living Building certification, making it the greenest commercial building in the world.