A robust crowd of 5,734 Storm fans gathered at Climate Pledge Arena two weeks ago with varying degrees of curiosity about Seattle’s WNBA team and it’s spanking-new $1.15 billion state-of-the-art building. 

It was the first dress rehearsal for the Storm, who hadn’t played at Seattle Center in 3½ years. For the most part, everything went off without a hitch. 

“We’re back home,” guard Jewell Loyd said following an 81-68 win over the Los Angeles Sparks. “We’re back in Seattle. We’ve been away for so long. … It’s exciting for us to be here. It’s exciting for the fans. We definitely felt that right away when we stepped on the court.” 

On Friday, the Storm’s long-awaited homecoming becomes official when Seattle opens the regular season at Climate Pledge against the Minnesota Lynx. 

Seattle guard Sue Bird has a laugh between plays as the Seattle Storm take on the Washington Mystics at KeyArena in Seattle, Sunday, July 8, 2018. Bird hit two scoring milestones during the game – she broke 6,000 points and became the franchise all-time leading scorer. 206909

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If you haven’t been to a Seattle Kraken game this season and you’re making your first trip to Climate Pledge then here’s a few things you should know. 

The environmentally friendly and world-class sustainable building is a significant upgrade to its predecessors, which occupied this space starting in 1962 with the Washington State Pavilion and continuing to the Seattle Center Coliseum and KeyArena in 2018. 

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The Oak View Group developers preserved the building’s iconic roofline, but everything else has changed.  

Climate Pledge aims to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world that’s powered with 100% renewable electricity and generates zero waste from operations and events. 

Once inside, there’s plenty of cool features to see, including a large Alaska Airlines plane in the main 36,000-square-foot atrium on the south side of the building, a 50-foot wide Storm mural in the southeast corner and a “living wall” on the west side featuring 27 different plant species covering 1,700 square feet. 

Fans will be treated to 28,175 square feet of digital signage, including a large LED display depicting the team’s “Be the Storm” marketing campaign, as well as 16 concession options, four hi-tech food stores, two exclusive suite areas and two private restaurants. 

There’s not a bad seat in the house and capacity for Storm games is 13,500, up from the 9,686 normally available at KeyArena.  

Two giant videoboards hang on opposite ends of the court and former Storm great Lauren Jackson’s retired No. 15 jersey dangles from the rafters next to a green and gold Storm banner depicting the team’s four WNBA championships. 

The Storm’s posh new digital-entry locker room is loaded with amenities including an adjoining workout room, training tables, a whirlpool, leather chairs, a Storm logo etched in the ceiling and flat-screen TVs everywhere. 

“It’s amazing,” coach Noelle Quinn said. “Our athletes deserve to be in a high-quality building and (have) state-of-the-art things. I’m juiced about the technology that’s going to make us more efficient. They deserve it. I’m happy that we’re in this building.”