The Arrival of Buy Clean Iowa: Implications for the Concrete Industry

In December 2021, the White House issued an Executive Order that aims to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions across federal government properties. 

The order includes Buy Clean Requirements, which are designed to cut down on carbon emissions associated with the production, manufacturing, and use of building materials — including concrete. This is an important step towards the US government's goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

One key aspect of the Buy Clean Requirements is the introduction of mandatory reporting for the carbon content of building materials used in federal projects, including projects by the Departments of Transportation and Defense. This requirement is not limited to federal projects alone. Any Iowa State projects that receive federal funding will also be subject to the Buy Clean Requirements.

Impact of Buy Clean on Concrete Production in Iowa

Suppliers of concrete and other building materials for federal projects and federally funded projects will be required to report the carbon content of their bids. The aim of this requirement is to encourage suppliers to use low carbon materials and processes, which will help to reduce the overall carbon footprint of federal construction projects. From a concrete perspective, government spending on infrastructure is one of the top two end destinations for all concrete manufactured in the United States.

Iowa Federal Funding for Infrastructure

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Iowa expects to receive approximately $5 billion over the next five years in federal funding for state infrastructure. 

The state government will administer these funds to projects that require lots of construction — and concrete — including:

  • Highway aid to address highways in poor condition
  • Bridge replacement and repairs
  • Airport infrastructure and upgrades
  • Water infrastructure
  • Public transportation improvements 
NOTE: CarbonCure is approved for use in concrete mix designs specified by the Iowa Department of Transportation (CDOT) and can replace cement up to 3%. This will result in a significantly lower GWP than comparable mix designs. 

Iowa Federal Funding for Defense

The Iowa National Guard has budgeted for $7.6 million for Plant Improvements & Additions in 2023 alone and typically spends around this much annually on construction-related projects. 

“Iowa City is big on trying to be as green as possible, so I’ve always tried to look for ways we can reduce our carbon footprint around here.” 
Matt KnepperGeneral Manager | Iowa City Ready Mix 
Read how Iowa City Ready Mix has gained a competitive advantage with CarbonCure.

What Concrete Producers Can Do

To bid on any federally funded project, concrete producers in Iowa can proactively create Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for their products. By partnering with an EPD service provider, they can conduct life cycle assessments of their concrete plant and materials, and produce reports to prove the carbon footprint of concrete mixes and products.

Once producers know their baseline emissions data, they can begin to explore possible options for reducing emissions including using alternative raw materials, such as fly ash and slag, in place of cement, or using carbon removal technologies like CarbonCure’s solutions to optimize their mix designs.

Contact our team to learn how CarbonCure Ready Mix can set you up for success with Buy Clean in Iowa. 

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