Biden Starts ‘Buy Clean’ Task Force To Source Eco Construction Materials
By Alexa Heah, 16 Feb 2022
Earlier this week, the Joe Biden Administration announced US$5 billion in funding to fast-track the adoption of electric vehicles by building more publicly-accessible chargers.
Now, it’s ramping up its sustainability push once more by creating a new ‘Buy Clean’ Task Force to source more eco-conscious construction materials for use by federal agencies, in a bid to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by at least 50% come 2030.
According to Engineering News-Record, the task force will look into materials’ impact across their life cycle, from manufacturing to construction. Additionally, it will launch its own programs to encourage the procurement of eco-friendly construction materials.
Elsewhere, the project will look to increase transparency in supplier reporting, which could see companies given incentives should they comply with unambiguous disclosure of emissions.
This initiative could have far-reaching effects, as the federal government happens to be the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, spending more than US$650 billion yearly, as per the General Services Administration (GSA).
Members of the task force will be roped in from the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Transportation to work alongside the Environmental Protection Agency, GSA, and White House Office of Management and Budget.
“As more buildings pursue net-zero, the share of carbon pollution coming from materials choices will continue to grow,” said Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Future Institute.
“Buy Clean approaches are critical, both to daylight the big differences in carbon intensity among and across materials, and to drive purchasing power at low-carbon options,” she explained.
MarketWatch reported that other environmental groups have welcomed the news, saying that carbon-intensive materials such as concrete, steel, cement, and aluminum are foundational to the way we live.
“As the global demand for them grows, the only way to meet our climate goals and protect communities—including those on the frontlines of industrial pollution—is to explore all avenues to clean up these industries,” said Sasha Stashwick, an industrial decarbonization expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Sonal Larsen, GSA Senior Advisor on Climate, concurred, saying: “Building materials are a major contributor to global emissions, and we’re excited to hear from industry about innovative products and approaches that can reduce carbon pollution while strengthening our homegrown manufacturing base.”
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