IRA to Fund the Creation of EPDs, but Note the January Deadline
Update: This article was corrected on November 29 to reflect a deadline extension that EPA alerted us to. The application deadline is January 16, 2024.
An Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) grant program called Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Construction Materials and Products is out to help manufacturers fund the creation of environmental product declarations (EPDs). The funding will be distributed through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
We need third-party-verified EPDs to provide reliable greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data for our building products. That way, we can compare data from otherwise equal products in order to select the lowest-carbon version, helping to reduce carbon in our buildings and environment. (EPDs also provide information on eutrophication, smog-forming potential, and more.)
Currently, there are too few EPDs available, largely due to how expensive they are for manufacturers and trade organizations to develop. This is because EPDs are based on rigorous, complicated, and expensive life-cycle assessments that take time and research.
According to the EPA, it is trying to address the issue and “plans to award up to 40 grants, cooperative agreements, and/or pass-through cooperative agreements in fiscal year 2024” that support IRA Section 60112. The money is available to others besides manufacturers, such as:
- Program operators that manage the EPD process
- Manufacturer trade associations
- State Buy Clean programs
The catch? This $100 million in funding has to be used up by the end of 2024. And according to Meghan Lewis, senior researcher at the Carbon Leadership Forum, the application deadline for the grants is January 16, 2024: not much time to hire grant writers, organize trade group members, and navigate the other potential obstacles of bureaucracy.
The grant program covers projects in five categories:
- Robust Data for EPDs: Used to help provide “data, analysis, or feedback for producing robust EPDs.”
- Robust Product Category Rule (PCR) Standard Development, PCRs, and Associated Conformity Assessment Systems: Used for developing PCRs (PCRs are the ground rules for LCAs/EPDs that ensure consistent, reliable data collection, reporting, and verification).
- Robust Tools & Resources to Support & Incentivize Development and Verification of EPDs: Used for “the development of tools and resources to make it easier, faster, and more cost-effective to produce and disclose robust EPDs.”
- EPD Development and Verification: Used to provide manufacturers with assistance producing EPDs.
- Robust EPD Data Platforms and Integration: Used to “support EPD reporting, availability, and verification; support the standardization of disparate EPD systems; and support future EPD integration into construction design and procurement systems.”
Ehrlich, B. (2023, October 30). IRA to Fund the Creation of EPDs, but Note the January Deadline. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/ira-fund-creation-epds-note-january-deadline