The United States is investing $2 billion in low-carbon construction of federal buildings

The United States is investing $2 billion in low-carbon construction of federal buildings

US President Joe Biden boards Marine One to travel to Maine from the White House

US President Joe Biden waves to the media before boarding Marine One to fly to Maine from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, on November 3, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis acquires licensing rights

WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) – The Biden administration said on Monday it would invest $2 billion in 150 federal construction projects in 39 states that use materials that reduce carbon emissions, in its latest effort to address climate change through government purchasing power.

The General Services Administration will prioritize the procurement and disposal of asphalt, concrete, glass, and steel produced with lower levels of associated greenhouse gas emissions that meet environmental product standards.

“The U.S. government has a significant share of the market — especially concrete and asphalt — and I think that helps push the industry toward meeting an increasing level of innovation when it comes to decarbonization,” said John Podesta, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden. He told Reuters.

Podesta is overseeing the implementation of the administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which provides more than $3 billion for the GSA to invest in buildings to reduce carbon emissions. He said the investments will help address emissions from sectors that are among the most difficult to decarbonize.

Podesta and GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan announced the investments during a visit to Topeka, Kan., where the federal building and courthouse will receive $25 million of a planned $2 billion investment to modernize the facility to make it more energy efficient.

Asphalt, concrete, glass and steel are among the most carbon-dense building materials. They account for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. manufacturing, according to the GSA.

The administration aims to have a net-zero emissions federal building portfolio by 2045 and net-zero emissions in government procurement by 2050.

“This funding helps create a market for low- and zero-carbon materials, further incentivizing industrial manufacturers to take advantage of other IRA programs intended to help them reduce their emissions,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

Other selected buildings are located in Boston, Massachusetts. Cleveland, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah and San Francisco, California.

Valerie Volcovici reports. Edited by Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Valerie Volcovici covers US climate and energy policy from Washington, D.C. It focuses on climate and environmental regulations in federal agencies and in Congress and how the energy transition in the United States is shaping up. Other areas of coverage include its award-winning reporting on plastic pollution and details of global climate diplomacy and UN climate negotiations.

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