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GSA Launches Pilot Program to Use IRA Low-embodied Carbon Material Funds for Construction, Renovation Projects

The United States General Services Administration (GSA) announced a six-month pilot program applying interim IRA Low Embodied Carbon (LEC) Material Requirements for eleven GSA construction projects. The Inflation Reduction Act allocated $3.375 billion to GSA for federal buildings to help reduce carbon emissions and catalyze innovation. This Act includes $2.15 billion to procure low embodied carbon materials for construction and renovation projects.

GSA’s interim requirements set global warming potential limits for asphalt, concrete, glass and steel. NGA provided public comments to GSA on the draft LEC Standard in February. Note that following the public comment period, GSA revised the global warming potential (GWP) limits to exclude processed glass and insulating glass units from its initial IRA Low Embodied Carbon Material Requirements. The requirements now only include limits for Flat Glass.

The highlights

Highlights of GSA interim requirements for glass:

  • Global warming potential limits for flat glass (EPD-Reported GWPs, in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per metric ton) are:
    • Top 20% limit: 1331
    • Top 40% limit: 1370
    • Better than average limit: 1401
  • Construction product assemblies (such as window assemblies) qualify for IRA funding if at least 80% of the assembly’s total cost or total weight comprises materials that meet the requirements.
  • Facility-specific EPDs are required “where feasible.”
  • The Energy Star Energy Performance Score for the supplying flat/float glass plant is required.
  • Three of GSA’s eleven pilot construction projects include glass:
    • U.S. Health and Human Services-Food and Drug Administration Laboratory, Federal Center, Lakewood, CO - New construction will use LEC asphalt, concrete, glass and steel.
    • Charles E. Whittaker U.S. Courthouse, Kansas City, MO - Facade upgrades will use LEC concrete, glass and steel.
    • Lewis F. Powell, Jr. U.S. Courthouse, Richmond, VA - Modernization will include LEC glass and steel to support window replacement on this historic courthouse.

Access NGA’s resources on Sustainability, including the Flat Glass PCR and Industry Average Flat Glass EPD.