The United States government is focusing its priorities on the manufacturing industry more than ever. But, as pressure builds to embrace more environmentally-friendly construction materials, the need for distinct changes takes precedence over more traditional methods.
In March 2022, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued updated standards surrounding concrete and asphalt materials nationwide. This move ensures that contractors will recognize and adhere to using at least two modified techniques for manufacturing or installation that will have a lower environmental impact.
As a result of these new guidelines, the private sector directly benefits through technological development processes, implementation, and full-scale integration across the country. Therefore, not only will the construction industry successfully reduce carbon emissions, but there will also be a need for more skilled workers, creating much-needed jobs.
The U.S. Government Requests Availability Information For Lower Carbon Construction Materials
To help gather relevant and accurate details, the GSA reached out to manufacturers and small businesses in late September 2022 for more information. They hope to recognize industry trends, spot possible opportunities for growth, and determine what low-carbon construction materials are currently available for use.
The findings will help to increase the use of American-made construction materials that adhere to lower-carbon standards according to the set guidelines.
According to a recent 2019 study, the construction industry is responsible for 38% of carbon emissions worldwide. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that all businesses should strive to reduce carbon emissions by 6% yearly to reach a 50% total reduction of carbon emissions by 2030.
Consequently, one of the most efficient ways to tackle this goal is to focus on construction materials that make up almost 40% of greenhouse gasses worldwide.
The Federal Buy Clean Initiative
The current Biden-Harris administration supports the Federal Buy Clean Initiative, focusing on locally-sourced, lower-carbon construction materials for use in federally funded projects and procurement.
In a move to be as effective as possible, the Federal Buy Clean Task Force is focusing on construction materials that make up 98% of products purchased and used in federal applications. Their priorities lie within these elements:
- Aluminum, including curtain walls and storefronts
- Concrete, including pre-fabricated products
- Flat glass, including window assemblies
- Gypsum board
- Insulation, including enclosure, equipment, piping, and acoustical
- Roofing materials
- Steel, including structural and rebar
- Structural-engineered wood, including mass timber and cross-laminated timber
Boosting the Economy Through Low-Carbon Initiatives
The U.S. federal government is one of the largest direct purchasers of infrastructure and manufacturing materials. The Biden-Harris administration is employing the Buy Clean Initiative as part of an economic plan to boost the manufacturing industry.
Recognizing the benefits and availability of low-carbon materials, the government aims to create more good-paying jobs for citizens, protect public health, enhance America’s competitiveness in the market, and strengthen national security.
We’ll see if it works out and helps bring more manufacturing jobs to hard-working Americans.