One of Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery sites in Sacramento, California—known as SCA5—has made history as North America’s first-ever fulfillment center to earn what’s called “Zero Carbon Certification” from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). In addition to being outfitted with innovative technology that helps the site reduce carbon emissions and operate more efficiently, it’s also strategically located close to customers in the Sacramento area, which allows for fast delivery—within as fast as five hours of when a customer clicks “purchase.”
“At Amazon, we are laser focused on reaching our Climate Pledge commitment by 2040—and our buildings are a big piece of this puzzle,” said Kara Hurst, our chief sustainability officer. “This facility is not only delivering for our customers within hours of their order, but it was also built to reduce its environmental impact. We are challenging ourselves to think big and design Amazon’s buildings in a way that helps lead the industry toward decarbonization.”
SCA5 is the first fulfillment center or logistics site in North America to have received this ILFI certification, which is the first worldwide third-party certified standard for lower-carbon buildings. The certification process requires a building to achieve energy and embodied carbon reduction targets, and be powered by 100% renewable energy. Recognizing that building emissions cannot currently be completely eliminated, the certification also requires carbon neutralization—additional finance for climate solutions outside of the building through the voluntary carbon market. ILFI sets a rigorous standard for validating these building decarbonization efforts: to achieve it, SCA5 operations had to meet energy efficiency performance targets over 12 consecutive months.
We opened SCA5 in 2022 to make Same-Day Delivery available to customers in the Sacramento area, and built the facility using more sustainable features like lower carbon concrete, recycled asphalt, and a fully electrified HVAC system. Amazon has been able to significantly reduce the building’s environmental impact by influencing building design to eliminate fossil fuel combustion from normal building operations and making the building systems all-electric. Compared to industry norms, we reduced embodied carbon emissions associated with construction and annual emissions resulting from the operation of the building. Here are more of the ways we’ve reduced SCA5’s impact:
  • We chose a white roof, which reflects sunlight and reduces heat absorption, reducing the amount of energy used in the cooling system.
  • High-efficiency motors, low-friction belts, and low-friction rollers reduce energy use from material handling equipment.
  • We are installing solar panels, and once operational, the power generated by these panels will account for the equivalent of up to 80% of the building’s annual estimated electricity consumption each year, with the remainder matched by off-site renewable energy projects. Until then, 100% of SCA5’s electricity consumption will be matched by off-site renewable energy.
  • Smart irrigation systems sense moisture and rain to reduce water usage.
Brown paper bags on assembly line
“We are proud to celebrate this accomplishment with Amazon and the team of dedicated individuals who made SCA5 the first fulfillment center in North America to receive our ambitious Zero Carbon Certification,” said Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. “This project sets a new high bar for construction projects in its class around the world. Committed companies like Amazon can drive the decarbonization of the building industry and show other companies how to act now to reduce supply chain carbon emissions.”
According to the UN Environment Programme, buildings and construction account for nearly 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Amazon is working to reduce the carbon emissions associated with our buildings and facilities across the globe, a key part of our operational decarbonization goals. As we are beginning to implement some of the sustainability improvements made at SCA5 more broadly, other sites across our operations will start to include attributes such as low-carbon concrete, all-electric HVAC, rooftop solar installations, and energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting and high-efficiency material handling equipment. An Amazon Fresh location recently became the world’s first grocery store to achieve Zero Carbon Certification from ILFI, and Climate Pledge Arena became the first arena and largest building in the world to achieve the same certification.
SCA5’s innovation in using lower carbon building materials and operations is another important step in Amazon’s progress to reach The Climate Pledge by 2040. We have also placed the largest-ever order of electric delivery vehicles and has rolled out over 13,500 in the U.S. We are the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, and have convened over 500 companies worldwide to sign The Climate Pledge.