News Brief

Feds Introduce Decarbonization Specs for Government Projects

A new concrete rule from GSA and energy code adoption from DOE continue U.S. efforts to curb both embodied and operational carbon.

 construction workers preparing to pour concrete

Low-carbon concrete will be required for federal building and infrastructure projects.

Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. License: Public domain.
The Biden administration has released new procurement rules—one focused on embodied carbon and the other on operational carbon—affecting all federal government building projects.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will require concrete to meet newer, more stringent requirements. Environmental product declarations (EPDs) must be submitted, and GSA will only contract with firms whose concrete is at least 20% better than the maximum embodied carbon recommended by the New Buildings Institute in proposed code language.

EPDs will also be required for asphalt, and contractors must provide asphalt that meets at least two “environmentally preferable techniques or practices,” some of which are designed to reduce heat absorption and thus the heat-island effect.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), meanwhile, will start requiring compliance with the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019 for all federal new construction and major renovation projects. Estimated cost savings of $4.2 million dollars in operating costs are projected within the first year (the rule takes effect in April 2023).

GSA is also implementing whole-building life-cycle assessment for all its construction projects, according to the agency.

More on U.S. government initiatives

Biden Orders Carbon-Neutral Federal Government by 2050

Historic HFC Climate Rule Will Slash U.S. Emissions

A Resilient Government: Federal Agencies Respond to Climate Change

For more information:

U.S. General Services Administration

U.S. Department of Energy


Published May 2, 2022

Melton, P. (2022, April 21). Feds Introduce Decarbonization Specs for Government Projects. Retrieved from

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