GSA budgets $2B supporting low embodied carbon material specs 

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Sources: General Services Administration; CMCM staff

The General Services Administration has released a list of more than 150 federal building construction or upgrade projects across 39 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico where low embodied carbon (LEC) material specifications will be supported by $2 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding. Contract language will favor LEC material use, net estimated deliveries totaling: 

                                    • Concrete       $767 million                

                                    • Glass            $464 million

                                    •  Steel            $388 million

                                    • Asphalt         $384 million 

The funding advances the Buy Clean Initiative, under which the federal government prioritizes purchase of asphalt, concrete, glass and steel that have lower than normal levels of greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production, use, and disposal. Coupled with projected life cycle energy savings, the LEC specification will equate to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction exceeding 41,000 metric tons. 

The Carlson Building contract will see low embodied carbon concrete replacing existing pedestrian and vehicular pavements, while new windows and doors of blast resistant aluminum frames and insulated glass reduce the building’s energy consumption. 

GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan announced the funding commitments in Topeka, Kan., where the agency has committed upward of $25 million for LEC materials upgrading the Frank Carlson Federal Building and Courthouse. “By incorporating clean construction materials in more than 150 projects,” she observed, “we’re helping create good-paying jobs in the clean manufacturing industries of the future and sending a clear signal that the homegrown market for these sustainable products is here to stay.”

“[This] shows the federal government leading by example on tackling the climate crisis by spurring demand for low-carbon manufacturing,” added White House Senior Advisor John Podesta. “This is exactly what [our] Investing in America agenda is all about—boosting American innovation, building a clean energy economy, and creating good-paying jobs all across the country.”

The Inflation Reduction Act provides $3.375 billion for GSA to invest in federal buildings to help reduce carbon emissions and catalyze innovation, primarily by acquiring and installing LEC materials for construction projects.

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