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Jan 19 -- 1) EPA Seeks Input on Inflation Reduction Act Programs to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Construction Materials and Products [press release]

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first opportunities for public input on new programs focused on lower carbon construction materials made possible by a $350 million investment from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The Agency will hold three public webinars and will accept written feedback on establishing new grant and technical assistance programs, and a carbon labeling program for construction materials with substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions. . . .

EPA’s new programs will provide grants, technical assistance, and tools to help states and Tribal Nations, manufacturers, institutional buyers, real estate developers, builders, and others measure, report, and substantially lower the levels of embodied carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, use, and disposal of construction materials and products. These new programs, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, will build upon EPA’s work in the ENERGY STAR Industrial Program and the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, among others, to protect human health and the planet.

EPA will hold three public engagement webinars to solicit feedback from experts and stakeholders, including institutional buyers, developers, builders, manufacturers, and representatives from states, Tribal Nations, non-profit organizations, trade associations, and others.

-- March 2, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Construction Materials Prioritization and Environmental Data Improvement – This webinar will ask for feedback on how to prioritize construction materials and products and how to improve data on embodied greenhouse gas emissions through measurement, standardization, transparency and reporting criteria. Register here.

-- March 22, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Grants and Technical Assistance for Environmental Product Declarations – This webinar will ask for feedback on new grant and technical assistance programs to help businesses calculate and report the greenhouse gas emissions data for construction materials and products through Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Register here.

-- April 19, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Carbon Labeling – This webinar will ask for feedback on how EPA could develop a carbon labeling program for construction materials and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions. Register here.

In addition, EPA will issue a Request for Information to solicit written comments on the design of these new programs. Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, comments on any of the questions outlined should be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0924 on www.regulations.gov by May 1, 2023. The Agency also published an interim determination under Inflation Reduction Act Sections 60503 and 60506 that was provided in December 2022 to the Department of Transportation and the General Services Administration on their Inflation Reduction Act funded procurement of construction materials and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA will use the public input received during the webinars and in writing to guide the development and implementation of its programs.

These actions support President Biden’s Buy Clean Initiative, which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the largest purchaser in the world to advance low-carbon construction materials across its procurement and funded infrastructure projects.
 
https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-seeks-input-inflation-reduction-act-programs-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions

2) Inflation Reduction Act Programs to Fight Climate Change by Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Construction Materials and Products

The Inflation Reduction Act invests $350 million for grants, technical assistance and tools, including carbon labeling, to help manufacturers, institutional buyers, real estate developers, builders and others measure, report and substantially lower the levels of embodied carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with all relevant stages of production, use and disposal of construction materials and products including steel, concrete, asphalt and glass.

Embodied greenhouse gas emissions refer to the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the extraction, production, transport and manufacturing of materials. Low embodied carbon materials have less climate impact associated with mining, manufacturing and transportation. Traditionally, steel, concrete, asphalt and flat glass contain a high quantity of embodied emissions due to the energy-intensive processes used to extract raw materials like limestone, taconite ore and silica and then converting those raw materials into products.

EPA's Pollution Prevention program will implement these programs to:

-- Spur market demand for construction materials and products that have substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions;
-- Increase the transparency of greenhouse gas emissions data associated with the production, use, and disposal of construction materials and products; and
-- Assist businesses in disclosing and verifying these data, as well as states, Indian tribes and non-profit organizations that assist these businesses.

Request for Information -- On Jan. 19, 2023, EPA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to announce that it is seeking public comment on a series of questions about developing these new programs. EPA encourages all interested parties to submit written comments once the docket is open; responses must be received by May 1, 2023.  See https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2023-01/10439-01_RequestForInformation%20%281%29.pdf [32 questions in six categories]

Public Engagement Webinars:

Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Construction Materials Prioritization and Environmental Data Improvement -- March 2, 2023, 2 – 3:30 p.m. EST
This webinar will ask for feedback on how to prioritize construction materials and products and how to improve data on embodied greenhouse gas emissions through measurement, standardization, transparency and reporting criteria.

Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Grants and Technical Assistance for Environmental Product Declarations -- March 22, 2023, 2 – 3:30 p.m. EST
This webinar will ask for feedback on new grant and technical assistance programs to help business calculate and report the greenhouse gas emissions data for construction materials and products though Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Carbon Labeling -- April 19, 2023, 2 – 3:30 p.m. EST
This webinar will ask for feedback on how the EPA should develop a new carbon labeling program for construction materials and products and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions.

For questions about the new programs, contact embodiedcarbon@epa.gov.

Working with Other Federal Agencies -- The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provided the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) with funding to select materials and products with substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions as determined by EPA.

https://www.epa.gov/inflation-reduction-act/inflation-reduction-act-programs-fight-climate-change-reducing-embodied

3) RFI Question Categories

-- Material Prioritization and Data Improvement (corresponds to March 2 webinar)  

A. What construction materials/products should EPA prioritize in implementation of IRA Sections 60112 and 60116?  [4 detailed questions]
B. What data accessibility and improvement approaches should EPA consider?  [7]
C. What PCR and EPD standardization, measurement, verification, and reporting approaches for use in procurement decision-making should EPA consider?  [7]

-- Environmental Product Declaration Assistance per Section 60112 (corresponds to March 22 webinar)

D. What factors should EPA consider for the EPD Assistance program?  [4]

-- Substantially Lower Embodied Carbon Labeling per Section 60116 (corresponds to April 19 webinar)
 
E. What should be considered for setting thresholds for “substantially lower levels” of embodied greenhouse gas emission for qualifying materials/products under a labeling program? Note: Per IRA Sections 60503 and 60506, EPA provided GSA and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) an interim determination on materials/products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions.  [4]
F. What should EPA consider in meeting the goals of IRA Section 60116, which directs EPA to develop a program to identify and label construction materials/products with substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions?  What would be the key elements of an effective carbon labeling program?  [6]
 
https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2023-01/10439-01_RequestForInformation%20%281%29.pdf

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