New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently adopted a first-in-the-nation mandatory set of rules establishing official emissions limits on concrete used in state-funded infrastructure and transportation projects. The Buy Clean Concrete mandate aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the full lifecycle of concrete in state-funded projects and reaffirms New York state’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
“Adopting Buy Clean Concrete guidelines marks a monumental step in our journey towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly New York State,” remarked Hochul of the mandate. “By setting mandatory emissions limits on concrete used in state-funded projects, we're not just leading by example but creating a tangible roadmap for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the board."
The Buy Clean Concrete guidelines will apply to any state agency contracts exceeding $1 million and directly using more than 50 cubic yards of concrete, or Department of Transportation contracts exceeding $3 million with at least 200 cubic yards of concrete in use.
“Through the Biden Administration’s Federal-State Buy Clean Partnership, the Federal Government and its state partners are prioritizing the purchase of American-made, lower-carbon construction materials, which is good for American workers, our economy, and our environment,” White House Council on Environmental Quality Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Mayock stated of the mandate. “As Co-chair of the Federal-State Buy Clean Partnership, I commend the State of New York for its leadership in putting Buy Clean into action and maximizing its support for U.S. manufacturing of clean construction materials, including concrete.”
Going forward on January 1, 2025, EPDs for all concrete mixes that will be used in the projects must demonstrate they meet an environmental impact below the official limits set by New York State.
“Concrete is the most commonly used construction material in the world, and one of the most carbon emissions-intensive to produce,” commented Natural Resources Defense Council Industrial Decarbonization Lead Ian Wells of the mandate. “This guidance is an early and critical step to cutting down on the pollution and climate harm that go into our buildings, homes, and infrastructure. We look forward to working with New York leaders in the years to come to continue elevating these standards and turning concrete from a climate burden to a climate asset.”
The official Buy Clean Concrete guidelines will include exceptions for emergency projects and select high-strength or quick-cure concretes that do not apply to state authorities.
“With these new rules, New York is leading by example through cleaner, greener procurement,” U.S. Climate Alliance Executive Director Casey Katims noted of the mandate. “Buying Clean can move markets and slash harmful climate pollution — and Governor Hochul is showing the way for the rest of the country.”