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GSA releases draft of federal low embodied carbon material standards

Codes and Standards

GSA releases draft of federal low embodied carbon material standards

The standard prescribes the use of best-performing (top 20%) materials and products to be used on all federal construction projects. 


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | February 8, 2023
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The General Services Administration recently released a document that outlines standards for low embodied carbon materials and products to be used on federal construction projects. (Read the draft of GSA Inflation Reduction Act Low Embodied Carbon Material Standards.)

Using the EPA’s Interim Determination, GSA is proposing a “substantially lower” standard for materials/products as defined by a global warming potential in the top performing 20%, (or lowest 20% in embodied greenhouse gas). If a top 20% product or material is unavailable in a project’s location, alternatives in the top 40% may be substituted.

But if a material in the top 20% is available elsewhere and could be transported to the project’s location from an unusual distance, GSA will analyze the transportation emissions for two or more of the options to determine if they are suitable.

“GSA’s goal is to procure materials and products available today and in the near future with the lowest levels of embodied carbon,” the document says. “GSA’s procurement actions and demand signals will help grow the United States market for even lower-carbon construction materials, and will spur ongoing industry innovation.”

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