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. Click on the map markers 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.
Hint: Change the dropdowns below the map to filter the policy list or see more than 5 policies at a time. Click on a pin to see details.
Local PolicyState or Provincial PolicyNational Policy
State of California
|Policy Approved, State or Province||10101 Kings River Rd, Reedley, CA 93654, USA|
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.
The Caltrans EPD Implementation Project collects EPDs for each eligible material in a Caltrans project in order to quantify total global warming potential (GWP).
State of Colorado
|Policy Approved, State or Province||P57P+X3 Almont, CO, USA|
The bill “Global Warming Potential For Public Project Materials,” also known as Buy Clean Colorado, was introduced to the Colorado State Legislature in 2020 but did not pass into law. This bill was reintroduced and passed into law in 2021.
State of Connecticut
|Policy Proposed, State or Province||Connecticut, USA|
The HB 5444, "An Act Concerning the Carbon Content of Concrete Used in State Projects" was introduced in 2021 to encourage the use of low-carbon construction materials.
State of Hawaii
|Policy Proposed, State or Province||MFQ4+XG Wailea-Makena, HI, USA|
State of Oregon
|Policy Approved, Policy Proposed, State or Province||84MX7HV4+R7|
The bill “Relating to procurements of certain materials at lowest carbon dioxide cost; declaring an emergency,” also known as Buy Clean Oregon, was introduced to the Oregon State Legislature in 2017 but did not pass into law, though efforts are continuing to re-introduce this bill.
The Oregon Concrete EPD Program provides a free tool to create concrete EPDs and cost reimbursement incentives for Oregon concrete producers. This program is a partnership between the Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association (OCAPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ).
In 2021, HB 2688 was introduced; it requires the Oregon Department of Transportation to establish a pilot program to assess how their procurement activities affect carbon dioxide emissions.
State of Minnesota
|Policy Approved, Policy Proposed, State or Province||QQ5W+VX Fifty Lakes, MN, USA|
A Buy Clean Minnesota bill was introduced to the Minnesota State Legislature in 2019 but did not pass into law, though efforts are continuing to re-introduce this bill.
In 2021, an amendment to HF278 was added, commissioning an environmental impacts study to explore the feasibility of Buy Clean-like legislation for the State of Minnesota
The Minnesota B3 Program provides tools and guidelines for new buildings or renovations to meet sustainability goals for site, water, energy, indoor environment, materials, and waste. The B3 Guidelines are required on all projects that receive general obligation bond funding from the State of Minnesota.
State of New Jersey
|Policy Approved, State or Province||New Jersey, USA|
Assembly Bill 5223 establishes State purchasing preference for low embodied carbon concrete; provides corporate business tax credits for costs of conducting environmental product declaration analysis.
Assembly Bill A4933 requires developers to offer unit concrete products that utilize carbon footprint-reducing technology as an option in new construction; establishes tax incentives, and State and local purchasing preferences, for unit concrete products that utilize carbon footprint-reducing technology
State of New York
|Policy Approved, State or Province||708 NY-23, Pitcher, NY 13040, USA|
The New York State Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (LECCLA) requires all of New York State’s authorities and agencies to include climate impact in their selection criteria for concrete procurement, encouraging the use of low-carbon concrete.
State of Washington
|Policy Approved, Policy Proposed, State or Province||XQRG+V9 Moses Lake, WA, USA|
The first Buy Clean Washington bill was introduced in Washington State in 2018. While the bill was not passed, it resulted in funding the five state pilot projects and the Buy Clean Washington Study (published in 2019).
An updated Buy Clean and Buy Fair bill was proposed for the 2021 legislative session.
County of King, WA
|Local, Policy Approved||GWP9+9J Issaquah, WA, USA|
The King County Strategic Climate Action Plan includes several strategies related to low-carbon procurement starting with concrete and expanding to wood, steel, and asphalt.
County of Marin, CA
|Local, Policy Approved||Marin County, CA, USA|
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.
City of Austin, TX
|Local, Policy Approved||Austin, TX, USA|
The City of Austin Climate Equity Action Plan addresses embodied carbon by incentivizing lower-carbon materials, whole building life cycle design, educating stakeholders on materials best practices, and partnering with local materials markets to decarbonize high-impact materials.
The City of Austin Green Building Program includes a rating system and guidebooks that involve credits/points for whole building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) and embodied carbon reductions.
City of Albany, CA
|Local, Policy Approved||Albany, CA, USA|
City of Dublin, CA
|Local, Policy Approved||Dublin, CA 94568, USA|
City of Eugene, OR
|Local, Policy Approved||Eugene, OR, USA|
The City of Eugene Community Climate Action Plan focuses on concrete and asphalt, requires the use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) for concrete, and will explore the future use of EPDs and low-carbon concrete mixes.
Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
|Local, Policy Approved||Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706, USA|
The Hastings-on-Hudson Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Resolution commits the local government to promoting the use of low embodied carbon concrete products in building and infrastructure projects.
City of Honolulu, HI
|Local, Policy Approved||Honolulu, HI, USA|
City of Los Angeles, CA
|Local, Policy Approved||Los Angeles, CA, USA|
City of Oakland, CA
|Local, Policy Approved||Oakland, CA, USA|
City of Portland, OR
|Local, Policy Approved||Portland, OR, USA|
The City of Portland Low-Carbon Concrete Purchasing Program requires the submission of product-specific concrete EPDs for City construction projects and phases in a maximum acceptable global warming potential (GWP) limit.
The City of Portland also has deconstruction requirements.
City of San Francisco, CA
|Local, Policy Approved||San Francisco, CA, USA|
City of Seattle, WA
|Local, Policy Approved||600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, USA|
The City of Seattle Priority Green Expedited incentive program is introducing new requirements that address embodied carbon.
Seattle’s Green Building Standard incentive program requires green building rating systems such as LEED and the Living Building Challenge that include embodied carbon requirements.
Port Authority of New York/New Jersey
|Local, Policy Approved||Lincoln Tunnel, Weehawken, NJ 07086, USA|
Port Authority of NY & NJ Clean Construction Program addresses embodied carbon through EPD requirements, waste diversion, low-carbon concrete, pilot projects, and LEED and Envision-equivalent standards for environmentally-friendly infrastructure design.
United States of America
|National, Policy Approved||First St SE, Washington, DC 20004, USA|
All Policy Resources
This resource provides insight into why embodied carbon is an urgent problem, how Buy Clean poses a solution, and an overview of the key policy elements. Buy Clean is a procurement policy approach that aims to fill...
This resource aims to provide a high-level overview of embodied carbon -- how it is defined, its significance in the global climate crisis, and why it is an important consideration for policymakers. Version:...
Case Study This case study provides information on the City of Portland's first round of low-carbon concrete pilot projects, featuring sidewalk ramps within the City's Bureau of Transportation. The goal of the pilot...
As the tools and expertise available to measure and reduce embodied carbon have expanded, the urgency has shifted necessarily away from basic understanding of the importance of embodied carbon to taking bold steps...
Research Purpose: Review and evaluate embodied carbon policies to limit the embodied carbon of structural materials used in State building projects. About On January 8, 2018, members of the Washington (WA) State...