Buy Clean regulations are intended to encourage the use of products and materials with a smaller carbon footprint.
As of December 2021, a Buy Clean law has been passed in California and Colorado, and the list of additional states that have considered Buy Clean legislation includes Washington, Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey.
The Buy Clean California Act
***UPDATE*** California Assembly Bill 137 was passed on July 16, 2021, and it contained provisions to effectively delay the implementation of the Buy Clean CA Act by one year.
California has been promoting clean energy and energy efficiency to support growth and prosperity since 2006. In 2013, California's 800 largest industrial facilities began tracking, reporting, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite their efforts, California still uses a substantial portion of its annual state revenues to purchase goods and services that produce high levels of climate pollution, leading to the passage of The Buy Clean California Act (Assembly Bill 262) in October 2017. This bill was intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by considering the products that companies buy, including steel.
The legislation went through several iterations, and the law now requires facility-specific Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for suppliers of carbon-steel rebar, flat glass, mineral-wool board insulation, and structural steel. As 90% of the global warming potential (GWP) impacts for fabricated structural steel occur during mill production, acceptable EPDs are those that report mill facility-specific impacts, not fabricator-specific.
Other building materials such as concrete and mass timber were never included and thus benefit from uneven reporting requirements. However, legislative efforts are underway to add more materials, which would bring parity to the law and create a level playing field.
AISC worked diligently with California regulators at the Department of General Services (DGS) to help them implement the Buy Clean California Act, and we’re leveraging that experience to other Buy Clean efforts around the country.
Fabricators and service centers who do business on public California projects should assume they need to comply. See the resources below and/or contact Max Puchtel, Director of Government Relations and Sustainability, for help navigating this law.
- A Quick Guide to Buy Clean California
- Regulations of the Act as published by the California Department of General Services (DGS)
- Buy Clean California and the Steel Supply Chain, a May 12, 2021 recorded webinar by the Steel Tube Institute and AISC
- Additional requirements set by individual California agencies:
- More to come
The Buy Clean Colorado Act
On July 6, 2021, Colorado passed HB21-1303: Global Warming Potential for Public Project Materials. The Office of the State Architect and the Department of Transportation are each required to set policies on public procurement by January 1, 2024 and January 1, 2025, respectively. AISC will continue to work with our Buy Clean partners to aid the implementation of the Act.
Federal Buy Clean
On December 8, 2021, the Biden Administration released an executive order and accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan outlining the nation's strategy for carbon emissions reduction. Among those goals is the creation of a federal Buy Clean initiative. Details of this program will be determined over the next six months, and AISC will continue to provide feedback for the structural steel industry.
Where can I find U.S. mill-specific EPDs?
- Birmingham, AL
- Blytheville, AR
- Blytheville, AR
- Chicago, IL
- Plymouth, MI
- Nucor Tubular Products
- **Bull Moose Tube Company
- **Eugene Welding Co.
- **Hanna Steel Corp
- **Hannibal Industries Inc.
- **Longhorn Tube LP
- **Maruichi America
- **Maruichi Leavitt
- **Northwest Pipe Co.
- **PROLAMSA Inc.
- **Searing Industries
- **Southland Tube Inc.
- **Valmont Industries Structural Tubing
- **Vest, Inc.
- **Welded Tube of Canada
*GWP information for each Nucor location is within the same EPD
**no EPDs available as of June 2021