WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday announced a new task force to promote use of construction materials with lower lifecycle emissions as it works to speed U.S. government purchases of greener products.
The move comes after President Joe Biden said in December that the government, which buys goods and services worth more than $650 billion each year, planned to cut its emissions by 65 percent by 2030, on the path to net zero emissions by 2050.
The multi-agency “Buy Clean Task Force” is being set up by the Council on Environmental Quality and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy to help “create markets for low carbon materials,” an administration official told reporters.
It will recommend ways to boost federal purchases of clean building materials and identify materials, such as steel and concrete, as well as pollutants to prioritize for consideration in federal government purchases.
Construction is a significant source of global carbon dioxide emissions. Production of cement, the main ingredient of concrete, accounted for 7 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2019, the International Energy Agency estimates.
The General Services Administration, the government’s landlord, will issue information requests on Tuesday focused on concrete and asphalt as it writes national low-carbon standards for Land Port of Entry projects.
The Transportation Department will also unveil new efforts to boost use of low-carbon materials in federal projects.
In his December executive order, Biden said the government, as the nation’s “single largest land owner, energy consumer and employer,” can transform “how we build, buy and manage electricity, vehicles, buildings and other operations to be clean and sustainable.”
He also aims to end government purchases of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The federal government will seek to consume electricity only from carbon-free and non-polluting sources on a net annual basis by 2030.
The White House urged the U.S. Postal Service this month to reconsider a plan to buy a new multibillion-dollar fleet of primarily gasoline-powered delivery vehicles.
The agency has said it does not plan to buy significantly more electric vehicles without additional government funding.