One of Amazon’s newest Same-Day sites in Sacramento, California—known as SCA5—is set to make history as the world’s first-ever Zero Carbon Certified fulfillment center or logistics facility by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). In addition to being outfitted with innovative technology that helps it reduce carbon emissions and operate more efficiently, the site is located closer to customers’ homes in the Sacramento area. This means packages will arrive on doorsteps within hours of clicking “purchase.”
While not commonly known, buildings account for nearly 40% of the nation’s CO2 emissions, and they consume more energy than both the industrial and transportation sectors. While not visible to Amazon’s customers, the design and operation of buildings like SCA5 represent an important and growing opportunity to combat climate change—creating more sustainable and flourishing communities, while also driving economic growth.
“This new facility represents a leap forward in sustainable construction for our global operations, which we intend to use as a model for future buildings across Amazon, as we continue working towards meeting our Climate Pledge commitment to be net-zero carbon across our operations by 2040,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “This facility is great for our customers—letting us deliver packages within just a few hours—and also great for the community and our planet because it was built to reduce its environmental impact. To reach Zero Carbon Certification and minimize our impact, the facility was built using more sustainable building materials like lower carbon concrete, fully electrified HVAC system, and high-efficiency material handling equipment. It is powered with 100% renewable energy, and uses smart irrigation systems that sense moisture and rain to reduce water usage.”
SCA5 is the first fulfillment center or logistics site in the world to pursue ILFI Zero Carbon Certification. The ILFI program is the first worldwide Zero Carbon third-party certified standard. This requires a building to achieve energy and embodied carbon reduction targets, be powered by 100% renewable energy, and offset 100% of emissions associated with construction. As with the standard process, Amazon expects SCA5 to receive ILFI certification in 2023, after one full year of being fully operational.
As part of the process of building this new Same-Day site, Amazon has been able to significantly reduce its environmental impact by making the building all-electric, decreasing the site’s energy consumption; eliminating fossil fuel combustion from normal operations; and decreasing the embodied carbon emitted throughout the building materials supply chain. To preserve energy use, the company added insulation to the roof and walls to help reduce heating and cooling energy use. It also installed a white roof, which reflects sunlight and reduces heat absorption, reducing the amount of energy used in the cooling system. Amazon also used high efficiency motors, low friction belts, and low-friction rollers to reduce energy use from material handling equipment. The site will be powered by 100% renewable energy. The building is solar-ready and designed to have a rooftop solar array that can generate as much as 80% of the facility’s annual energy needs, with the balance to be supported by Amazon’s off-site renewable energy projects.
“Amazon’s SCA5 shows that we can make progress much faster and in more transformational ways to reduce carbon emissions from buildings,” said Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. “As the first fulfillment center to submit for Zero Carbon Certification, this project is an important model for efforts to eliminate supply chain carbon pollution.”
Amazon has already begun to apply key learnings from this project to future projects. Ultimately, Amazon will need all of its buildings to strive for lowering their respective emissions as we work to meet the commitments set forth in The Climate Pledge. Sustainability-related improvements made at SCA5 are also being implemented at various other sites across Amazon’s operations, including low-carbon concrete, all-electric HVAC, rooftop solar installations, energy efficiency upgrades—such as LED lighting and occupancy sensors—and high-efficiency material handling equipment. Over the past 12 months, Amazon opened an Amazon Fresh store that’s seeking ILFI certification. Amazon also supported the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle in its seeking ILFI certification.
SCA5’s innovation in using sustainable building materials and operations is another important step in Amazon’s progress to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. The company also has placed the largest-ever order of electric delivery vehicles. It is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, and it has convened over 375 companies worldwide to sign The Climate Pledge.