Topic Brief

Planned Strategically, Federal Buy Clean Investment Can Increase Its Impact Exponentially 

March 30, 2023

With public procurement under the Buy Clean policies of the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the U.S. General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and states have an enormous opportunity to launch, cultivate, and support a robust market for low-carbon materials like concrete, steel, glass, and asphalt, which will be critical to reducing embodied carbon emissions in buildings while decarbonizing the industrial sector. 

To achieve this transformation, the federal agencies must select projects strategically, coordinate with state and local efforts to drive demand, involve the private sector in the project development process to build capacity, and leverage other federal funding to grow the market for low-carbon materials. Using concrete as an example, we identify regions of the United States where these efforts are more likely to succeed based on the size of the construction market, the number of concrete and cement manufacturers and contractors, readiness to support new construction techniques and capacity of the workforce to do so, and locations of GSA-owned buildings. 

We rank states on their potential to scale up low-carbon concrete based on these factors. The top ten states are California, New York, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Washington. Without clear government commitment to sustaining the low-carbon concrete market through its early and riskiest stages, manufacturers will be reluctant to enter it. It is critical that policymakers understand these concerns and take targeted action, with priority to the states we have identified in this brief. 

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Federal Funding Government Lead by Example Commercial Buildings Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V) Building Policies and Codes Embodied Carbon
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