Federal Government Seeks Low Carb(on) Diet for Most Construction Materials


On October 4, 2022, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”), seeking information “about the availability of domestically manufactured, locally sourced low-carbon construction materials” for governmentwide construction procurement.  Significantly, the results of the RFI are expected to help inform how the GSA will spend the $2.15 billion appropriated through Section 60503 of the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) to “acquire and install materials and products for use in the construction or alteration of buildings” under the GSA’s jurisdiction “that have substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions associated with all relevant stages of production, use, and disposal as compared to estimated industry averages of similar materials or products[.]”

Building on GSA’s previous efforts to implement new “low embodied carbon” concrete and “environmentally preferable” asphalt used in GSA construction and building projects (covered here), the Administration is seeking to expand its Buy Clean Initiative to most carbon-intensive materials – including, concrete, steel, glass, asphalt, aluminum, insulation, roofing materials, gypsum board, and structural engineered wood –  used in the construction of buildings, roads, and bridges.  GSA has divided these materials into three tiers of descending order of priority, with Tier 1 materials (concrete, steel, glass, and asphalt) as the “most carbon intensive materials,” followed by Tier 2 (aluminum, insulation, and roofing materials) and, finally, Tier 3 (structural engineered wood). 

Specifically, GSA is requesting public comments on the following questions:

What strategies have you used to lower the embodied carbon of your products or materials?If your company currently produces construction materials or products that are lower in embodied carbon, approximately what percentage of your construction material sales are currently for lower embodied carbon products?Do you currently offer construction materials or products . . . that are substantially — and demonstrably — lower in embodied carbon, compared to…



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