What is this "buy clean" effort and what is HB21-1303?
HB21-1303: Global Warming Potential For Public Project Materials is a bill that was signed into law this year.
This law aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the Colorado industrial sector. HB21-1303 reduces emissions through the creation of a framework for the Colorado Department of Transportation and Office of State Architect to consider the total embodied carbon (the manufacturing process used to create these materials) in select construction materials used in state funded projects. Under this law, state building projects are treated differently than transportation projects like roads and bridges. Building projects will require the use of building materials that are deemed acceptable based on their greenhouse gas intensity by the state architect. Transportation projects will be affected by a policy adopted by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
By considering the embodied carbon used to produce materials, this law empowers the state to purchase materials processed with lower amounts of GHG emissions, ultimately lowering emissions in this sector over time.
Greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to the climate crisis. Currently the industrial sector contributes to roughly 10% of our total carbon emissions in Colorado. Globally, concrete and steel account for 14% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, the State of Colorado passed HB19-1261, an ambitious piece of legislation aimed at reducing Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050. In order to meet these obligations, we must work towards reductions in all sectors, including the industrial sector. HB21-1303 focuses on emissions reductions in the industrial sector by using the power of the Colorado budget to purchase raw materials with lower embodied carbon. The policies used to calculate embodied carbon are based on international standards - Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). By using the states purchasing power this law hopes to foster private industry to reduce embodied carbon in private projects as well.
Want to learn more? Check out this Fact Sheet we put together.
No, Colorado already has many of these manufacturers right here in CO, driving down cost, and there is a waiver for unreasonably priced goods to ensure costs remain reasonable.
Materials that are unreasonably priced or not available on a reasonable basis.
Yes! This law was passed by the Colorado general assembly in 2021. California passed a similar bill in 2017, paving the way for federal action in the future.
Yes! Here in Colorado we have several green manufactures of cement. Pueblo steel manufacturing is already moving towards being 100% solar powered.
Definitely. A few examples of how the law could improve below:
1. Implementation is a few years down the line rather than right now. (2024)
2. The bill currently exempts “maintenance” projects. We hope that will change and include "maintenance" projects in the future.
3. The standards set by the state architect are required to be “based on the average…” greenhouse gas (GHG) potential but it doesn’t clearly say whether it should be lower than the average and how much lower.
4.The provisions pertaining to roads, bridges, etc. are just saying that the Colorado Department of Transportation has to come up with rules to reduce GHG intensity. The law could be more directive and provide some starting points for CDOT.