Buy Clean California Act Creates Incentive to Cut Carbon Emissions by Requiring EPDs

Green Infrastructure Green Infrastructure

Background In 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Buy Clean California Act (AB 262) into law which encourages greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions associated with state infrastructure projects. AB 262 requires state agencies to consider embedded carbon from the production of construction materials, such as rebar, during contracting for state projects. The law will apply to all California state infrastructure, as well as University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) projects. The bill arose as a recognition that construction materials contribute significantly to California’s annual GHG emissions (about 24 percent). Given this contribution to the state’s emissions, construction projects needed to be addressed for the state to reach its GHG emissions reduction goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030. A 2015 executive order from Jerry Brown ordered that state agencies “take climate change into account in their planning and investment decisions and employ

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Breaking Free from Linear Thinking: Life Cycle Assessment and Circular Economy

A key theme of the 2017 American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) conference was the need to incorporate circular economy into design principles. Life cycle assessment (LCA) can help identify the areas of a product’s life cycle essential to promoting a circular economy. This appears to be a logical application of LCA principles because, in LCA, the life cycle of a product is often presented as circular like the diagram to the right. The problem is that this life cycle is not actually circular, it’s linear, and is more accurately depicted like the below: The current way of thinking about product life cycles is fundamentally linear because there is a raw material extraction phase, a production phase, a use phase and an end-of-life phase. If a life cycle was truly circular, there would be no end-of-life. If there is “final disposal” of a product, such as in a landfill

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Takeaways from the 2017 American Center for Life Cycle Assessment XVII Annual Conference

I have had the pleasure of attending the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) annual conference for the last several years, wearing many hats as an academic, representative of private industry and as a consultant. This year, set in picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, ACLCA’s conference brought together more than 240 participants from industry, academia, government and NGOs to discuss the most up-to-date insights on LCA and its many applications. For the past two years, WSP has been a proud organizational member of ACLCA and I have had the opportunity to represent WSP on the ACLCA board of directors. During the conference, the board met to discuss several important topics, including updates to the ISO standards that govern LCA, education efforts in LCA and preparation and planning for future LCA events. On the first day of the conference, keynote speaker Greg Norris, chief scientist at the Living Future Institute, encouraged

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