EPA invites comments on low carbon construction materials, product labeling

Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

The Environmental Protection Agency has opened to public comment a draft approach for implementing an Inflation Reduction Act-funded Label Program for Low Embodied Carbon Construction Materials. The $100 million undertaking will support the White House Buy Clean Initiative, applicable to Departments of Defense and Transportation and General Services Administration procurement, by helping define what constitutes “clean” construction materials. “The program will expand market access for lower embodied carbon construction materials and help federal purchasers prioritize these materials,” says EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Michal Freedhoff. 


The draft approach proposes a) to standardize and improve the data that manufacturers and suppliers use in developing environmental product declarations, which disclose key environmental impacts measured up to site delivery; b) a process by which EPA would use data from EPDs and other sources to set thresholds for the amount of embodied carbon a material or product can have to qualify for the low embodied carbon label; and, c) a material or product certification method along with a companion registry. 

“As part of the Buy Clean Initiative, the federal government has begun procurement of over $4 billion in American-made low embodied carbon steel, concrete, asphalt, and glass for use in federal projects,” notes White House Council on Environmental Quality Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Mayock.  

“EPA’s work on creating a Carbon Label Program will support the Department of Transportation and our stakeholder efforts to promote the use of low carbon construction materials by increasing transparency and consistency for tracking environmental considerations,” adds DOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Ann Shikany.

Comments on the EPA proposal can be submitted through March 18 at the Regulations.gov portal. EPA representatives will provide perspective on the draft label program in a 1 p.m. EST, February 27 webinar, registration for which can be obtained here.