ENR: AISC Raises Fairness Issues Over Buy Clean California Act
November 28, 2017
(Chicago, IL) - AISC has expressed misgivings about the fairness of a California law, enacted last month, intended to minimize the carbon footprint of certain construction materials used in state-funded building projects, reports Engineering News-Record in an article published on November 15. The act requires all products to have a global warming potential less than the industry average. The Buy Clean California Act will require a successful bidder to submit an environmental product declaration—a product’s climate change profile—for “eligible materials.”
Carbon-steel rebar, flat glass, mineral-wool board insulation and structural steel are listed. Concrete and wood are not.
“Our concerns are that the bill does not address all construction materials equally by not including the same requirements for concrete and wood [as it does for steel],” said John Cross, AISC vice president of special projects, at the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held on November 8-10 in Boston.
By January 1, 2019, the state Department of General Services (DGS) must establish a “maximum acceptable global warming potential” for each material category, the article says. For this, according to the act, DGS will set the potential using the “industry average of facility-specific global warming potential emissions for the material.” By January 1, 2022, and every three years after, DGS will review the global-warming potential for each eligible material.
Beyond the question of fairness, AISC would like assurance that DGS’s methodology for its selections is based on “a sound technical foundation,” said Cross. “Developing the rules is going to be a real challenge,” he adds, noting that there are several questions that need attention.
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The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC's mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.
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