EPA Proposes Criteria to Improve CarbonEmissions Reporting of Construction Materials Under New Label Program 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft criteria for Product Category Rules (PCRs) in support of a new label for more climate-friendly construction materials and products as part of the $100 million Label Program for Low Embodied Carbon Construction Materials created under the Inflation Reduction Act. PCRs are guidelines for developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which communicate climate and other environmental impacts of products, and will be used to determine a product’s eligibility for the new label. The draft criteria will improve PCRs by establishing consistent requirements for data quality and transparency in EPDs.Currently, the manufacturing of construction products and materials, such as concrete, asphalt, steel, and glass, accounts for approximately 11% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The draft criteria were developed with input from stakeholders, including in response to a Request for Information that was issued last year, and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the General Services Administrationand other federal agencies.  

Today’s announcement follows the release on February 15, 2024, of the draft approach for the implementation of the broader Label Program for Low Embodied Carbon Construction Materials that EPA is currently seeking input on. The draft approach proposes how the label program would define what constitutes low embodied carbon construction materials in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s landmark Federal Buy Clean Initiative, which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the world’s largest purchaser to spur demand for low embodied carbon materials made in America.  

As it develops the new label program, EPA plans to award $100 million in grants, made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, to support businesses that manufacture construction materials and products to develop and verify EPDs, and to states, Indian Tribes, and nonprofit organizations that will purchase these materialsfrom such businesses. The EPDs generated through this grant program will make it easier for interested purchasers to ensure the construction projects they fund are using lower embodied carbon construction materials. The PCR Criteria released today will support both grantees and the broader marketplace in developing more robust product EPDs. 

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, written comments should be submittedto docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2024-0075 on www.regulations.gov by Thursday, April 4, 2024.    

On March 21, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. ET, EPA will hold a webinar to educate stakeholders on the PCR Criteria and how it is expected to improve EPDs in support of the label program.  

Register for the webinar.