Policy Primer Educational Series
Policy is an essential step towards creating the scale of action required to rapidly reduce embodied carbon in construction. The policy primer series below begins with an introduction to procurement policies, also known as Buy Clean. Keep checking back to see additional primers on other policy areas.
Several key forms of embodied carbon policies to look out for in 2021 include:
- Procurement policies (like Buy Clean and material-specific variations)
- Climate Action Plans
- Building codes
- City zoning, land use, and building regulations and incentives, including building and material reuse policies
- Executive orders addressing embodied carbon of building and industrial sector emissions
Current Embodied Carbon Policy in the US
Embodied carbon policies are spreading rapidly across the United States. Hover over the map below to learn more about existing and proposed policies. For more information about the individual policies, see the links for each policy below the map.
- Buy Clean California Act (passed)
- AB-1365 (Public contracts: clean concrete)
- AB-1369 (Public Contracts: eligible materials)
- Caltrans EPD Implementation Project
- Marin County Low Carbon Concrete Code
- Los Angeles Executive Order No. 25 – LA’s Green New Deal, Sustainable City pLAn
- Los Angeles Clean Construction Declaration
- City of San Francisco Climate Action Plan
- Oakland 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan
- Dublin Climate Action Plan 2030 and Beyond
- Albany 2019 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan
- State of Washington HB 2412 (Buy Clean Washington, not passed)
- State of Washington HB 1103 (Buy Clean Buy Fair Washington, not passed)
- Executive Order 18-01 (State Efficiency and Environmental Performance)
- King County Strategic Climate Action Plan
- City of Seattle Priority Green Expedited Program
- City of Seattle Green Building Permit Incentives
- BE086 (Buy Clean and Buy Fair Minnesota Act, pilot bill)
- Amendment to HF278
- Minnesota B3 Program
- New Jersey
- New York
All Policy Resources
Governments, institutions, private organizations and construction companies are looking for ways to reduce the carbon pollution embedded in the products they purchase. Many are choosing to leverage their buying...
Low-Cost, High-Value Opportunities Report / July 2021 Authors Rebecca Esau, Matt Jungclaus, Victor Olgyay, Audrey Rempher. Authors listed alphabetically. All authors from RMI unless otherwise noted. Contacts...
An analysis of Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) definitions in Buy Clean and other North American procurement policiesA variety of existing and proposed legislation regulating public procurement at the...
This working paper by the World Resources Institute (WRI) explores the idea of setting a low-carbon cement standard in the United States. It discusses the use of tradable credits, cement sector-specific issues...
This working paper by the World Resources Institute (WRI) explores the idea of setting a low-carbon product standard for steel in the United States. It offers recommendations on how to set an effective standard that...
The Green Building Advisory Committee’s adoption of procurement principles will drive federal action on low embodied carbon building materials and approaches through the GSA, as well as the national market. Press...
Actors across the federal government are taking steps to address embodied carbon. This document provides a summary of recent highlights and ongoing initiatives related to reducing embodied carbon across federal...
The world currently emits 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere every year. To avert the most calamitous impacts of climate change, we need to get that number to zero by 2050.Achieving...
The world currently emits 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere every year. To avert the most calamitous impacts of climate change, we need to get that number to zero by 2050....
The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Tracking Industry report provides updates on the progress of cement, steel, and other industries towards implementing the emissions reductions strategies required to reach the...
Public procurement accounts for an average of 12-30% percent of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), resulting in a significant opportunity for leveraging public purchasing power to reduce emissions. Curbing...
The Carbon Loophole in Climate Policy assesses the embodied carbon associated with the production of goods that are ultimately traded across borders and therefore excluded from domestic climate policy. The report...
The Buy Clean California Act was introduced and passed in the state legislature in 2017. It was the first case of Buy Clean legislation in the United States.
In 2021, AB-1365 and AB-1369 were introduced to fill in gaps in the Buy Clean California Act.
The Caltrans EPD Implementation Project collects EPDs for each eligible material in a Caltrans project in order to quantify total global warming potential (GWP).
The Marin County Low Carbon Concrete Code entails a set of requirements that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of concrete while still maintaining the strength and durability of concrete.
Los Angeles’s Green New Deal Sustainable City “pLAn” incorporates embodied carbon.
Los Angeles is a signatory city to C40’s Clean Construction Declaration.
San Francisco, Oakland, Dublin, and Albany all have Climate Action Plans that include embodied carbon.