On December 22, 2021, New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, signed into law the Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (LECCLA) [S542A/A2591A]. The law directs the state’s Office of General Services to develop guidelines for low embodied carbon concrete for use in state agency procurement. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will serve on the General Services stakeholder advisory group for developing the guidelines. The law also directs examination and potential recommendations for use of bid credits of up to five percent, performance-based specifications for concrete that include maximum cement content and global warming potential factors, and expediting product evaluations to encourage low embodied carbon concrete development and production.
Concrete, mainly from Portland cement production, accounts for up to eight percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Increasingly, attention is being paid to the “embodied carbon” and broader environmental footprints of concrete, steel, asphalt, lumber, and other materials. Earlier in 2021, Colorado enacted HB21-1303: Global Warming Potential for Public Project Materials, known as the Buy Clean Colorado Act, to advance lower global warming potential materials in state-funded building and transportation projects. California and Washington are among other states considering bills and policies to address embodied carbon in construction.