Program to prioritize ‘green’ materials for federal contracts

February 20, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public input on a $100 million program that will promote the use of lower-carbon construction materials in federal projects.

As part of the program, the EPA is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to develop a system to identify and label materials and products produced with low or zero embodied greenhouse gas emissions carbon, which refers to the amount of emissions used to create the materials.

The 30-day comment period, which will help the agencies define what constitutes “clean” construction materials, ends March 18.

The federal government’s purchasing power is over $630 billion, the largest in the world.

The U.S. is trying to leverage that procurement power while achieving net zero emissions on its projects by 2050. To do so, it will prioritize working with firms that use construction materials certified as “green.”

Currently, the federal government’s Buy Clean Task Force is developing recommendations on policies and procedures to expand consideration of embodied emissions in federal procurement.

The task force is made up of agencies from across the federal government, including the departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Interior, State and Transportation. The General Services Administration, NASA, Veterans Administration, Council on Environmental Quality, Infrastructure Implementation Team, Office on Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation and Office of Management and Budget are also on the task force.

The task force agencies account for 90% of all construction materials purchased and financed by the federal government.

The scope of their mission on federal projects is to:

  • Identify construction materials and products with the highest embodied carbon concerns – such as steel, cement/concrete, asphalt and flat glass – to prioritize for consideration in projects.
  • Develop incentives and technical assistance to help domestic manufacturers better report and reduce embodied emissions.
  • Launch pilot programs to boost federal procurement of cleaner construction materials and to learn more about their performance in real-world applications.

The Federal-State Buy Clean Partnership was launched in March 2023 with 12 states who pledged to prioritize the procurement of lower-carbon infrastructure materials in state-funded projects.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo by SAMS Solutions on Unsplash

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