Today the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced a six-month pilot of new requirements for the procurement of low-embodied carbon (LEC) materials as funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. The GSA received $2.15 billion to prioritize the purchase of LEC glass, asphalt, concrete, and steel, which collectively account for nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and represent 98% of the government’s purchased construction materials.
The six-month pilot was developed in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other key departments and offices within the Biden administration and will go into effect immediately at eleven new GSA projects. For related information on setting Buy Clean steel standards, see this blog post by BlueGreen Alliance Policy Advisor Charlie Martin.
The announcement highlights the coordination between administration offices and agencies, noting that these pilot requirements are part of a holistic strategy that includes a similar procurement effort at DOT, EPA’s work on low-carbon labeling for construction materials, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s $6 billion Advanced Industrial Facilities Deployment Program. This strategy seeks to combine direct investment, data transparency and disclosure, and pilot procurement programs to support a cleaner and stronger U.S. industrial base for the clean economy.
Following the announcement, the BlueGreen Alliance released a statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:
“We applaud the GSA for their thoughtful leadership and for incorporating stakeholder feedback into this new, updated Buy Clean framework. Getting these policies right today will help to ensure a livable climate, cleaner air, and more manufacturing jobs for U.S. workers tomorrow. With this release, GSA and the Biden administration are taking decisive steps to help ensure that federal procurement—like all federal activities—serves to reduce GHG emissions, improve health and environmental outcomes in communities harmed by environmental injustice, and create good jobs for workers across the United States.
“We encourage the EPA to move expeditiously and provide manufacturers the technical assistance and funding support needed to accurately report their emissions in environmental product declarations—a prerequisite for effective Buy Clean policies. With transparent data and smart requirements for procurement, we can revitalize U.S. manufacturing while reducing industrial pollution and investing in hard-hit communities.”