Understanding San Francisco and LA’s Clean Construction Declaration

The C40 Clean Construction Declaration is a commitment made by cities and companies to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment by promoting the use of low carbon materials and technologies in the construction industry. 

The Declaration was developed by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which is a network of almost 100 cities around the world who have committed to taking urgent action to combat climate change. It operates on performance-based requirements, not membership fees, so C40’s Leadership Standards set the minimum requirements for all member cities and ensure the integrity of C40 as a network of climate leaders.

What Does the Clean Construction Declaration Cover?

The Clean Construction Declaration calls for the use of low-carbon materials like low-carbon cement and concrete in new construction and renovation projects. It also encourages the use of digital tools and technologies, such as building information modeling (BIM), to optimize building design and performance and promote energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy systems.

Additionally, the Declaration seeks to promote sustainable construction practices, such as circular economy principles and the use of sustainable procurement policies (like New York’s Proposed Low-Carbon Concrete Policy) and standards, as well as collaboration between cities, companies, and other stakeholders in the construction industry to drive innovation and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable built environment.

Impact on Government Policy

San Francisco’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Accelerator is one example of this. The city pledges to enact regulations, planning policy, and/or building codes to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings by 2050.  

Los Angeles has a Net Zero Carbon Buildings Accelerator and a Clean Construction Accelerator that ensures the city develops the net zero emission buildings and infrastructure of the future. The Clean Construction Accelerator specifically calls out an assessment of the impact the choice of materials and construction design will have on the city’s overall resilience to climate impact.

San Francisco and Los Angeles’ commitment to C40 likely had an impact on the State of California’s sustainability legislation, including Senate Bill 596 which is striving for net-zero emissions from concrete production by 2045.

What's the Impact on CA Concrete Producers?

Public procurement trends continue to shift to green materials at federal, state, and municipal levels. Several authorities, including Los Angeles County, have set targets as early as 2030 to reduce embodied carbon and update carbon codes for new construction. Producers who aren't prepared for this changes will be playing catchup, and risk losing project opportunity to more advanced low carbon concrete providers.

If you’re interested in learning more about low carbon policies affecting concrete producers across North America, visit the dedicated policy section on our website or follow our blog. For more about how CarbonCure can support concrete producers with software to measure the carbon footprint of concrete—and technology to manage it - contact us.

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