New GSA Standards Set Stage for Major Emissions Cuts in Construction Materials

WASHINGTON D.C. — Today the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced a six-month pilot of new requirements for the carbon intensity of materials, including steel, used in eleven GSA construction projects.  

These interim standards will allow GSA to pilot its “Buy Clean” program. Lessons learned from this pilot will inform GSA’s final carbon intensity requirements, which will foster domestic clean manufacturing by creating a strong market for clean construction materials. 

This initiative is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive approach to industrial decarbonization, which includes billions of dollars' worth of incentives for industrial transformation and support for generating Environmental Product Declarations from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

In response, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) issued the following statement: 

“By implementing these standards, GSA will leverage public spending to help spur a rebirth of American industrial manufacturing in a much smarter and cleaner context than before,” said Ian Wells, NRDC’s Federal Industrial Policy Lead. “As these domestic industries get cleaner, however, low-carbon procurement standards must adapt to continue to incentivize industrial manufacturers to achieve the level of emissions reduction we need to meet climate targets.” 

The Sierra Club issued the following statement: 

“The announcement marks an important step in making sure that public and private investments currently being made to dramatically reduce the pollution intensity of industrial facilities will have a space to prove their competitiveness,” said Yong Kwon, Senior Policy Advisor at the Sierra Club. “It also showcases the urgency of ongoing efforts to collect data and the critical work that remains to be done to set standards that would move all facilities towards eliminating fossil fuel usage in their manufacturing process.” 

The Environmental Defense Fund issued the following statement: 

“GSA’s pilot program is a critical first step to develop markets for clean construction materials that will lower pollution and create U.S. jobs,” said Natasha Vidangos, Associate Vice President, Innovation and Technology Policy at EDF. “Buy Clean puts federal purchasing power to work by ramping up clean solutions in this crucial, yet high emitting, part of our economy. More work lies ahead to ensure that we maximize the potential of the Buy Clean program to develop strong and competitive markets for cleaner materials, while ensuring fair outcomes for workers and communities.”