construction crane near scaffolding

Report | 2023

Buy Clean and Beyond

A Guide to Reaching Net-Zero Embodied Carbon in State-Owned Building Projects

By Rebecca EsauAnish TilakConnor UsryVictor Olgyay
Download the report below

As key consumers of steel, cement, and other major construction materials, US state governments play an influential role in reducing climate-warming emissions from manufacturing and construction projects. These emissions are commonly known as embodied carbon — the millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions created from material extraction, manufacturing, transport, construction, and disposal. In Buy Clean and Beyond: A Guide to Reaching Net-Zero Embodied Carbon in State-Owned Building Projects, RMI provides a comprehensive framework that state agencies and policymakers can use to reach net-zero embodied carbon emissions from public building projects.

Four core strategies are outlined in the report to help states develop a roadmap to reach net-zero embodied emissions over time. They align with RMI’s Roadmap to Reaching Zero Embodied Carbon in Federal Building Projects and include:

Buy Clean policies that target the highest-emitting construction materials such as steel and cement can immediately yield substantial GHG emissions reductions from state building projects. By implementing these policies and adopting the complementary strategies laid out in this report, states can increase the impact of their efforts to transform buildings from climate liabilities into climate solutions. Doing so will send clear demand signals to the market, accelerate decarbonization across the building industry’s value chain, drive innovation in material manufacturing, and create new family-sustaining jobs.