AWC Praises Passage of Omnibus with Carbon Reduction Measures for the Built Environment

LEESBURG, VA. – The American Wood Council (AWC) President & CEO Jackson Morrill issued the following statement following the passage of the Omnibus package, which includes provisions that will help reduce carbon emissions in the built environment.

“The built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions, 25% of which is from materials and construction processes. In order to address this major source, Congress has directed the federal government to establish a reliable methodology for carbon accounting that can inform decisions about procuring building materials that bring meaningful carbon emissions reductions. The development of a “library of buildings” for benchmarking in whole building lifecycle assessments is a critical step in ensuring accurate measurement of carbon reductions. The package also includes significant direction to the Department of Defense to advance the use of mass timber presenting an unparalleled opportunity for military installations to shorten facility construction times while utilizing low-carbon alternatives to traditional building materials. We look forward to supporting the administration as they further develop the tools to ensure achievement of net zero emission goals for the built environment. 

“American wood products today represent an existing, proven pathway to significantly reducing the greenhouse gas impacts associated with government procurement in the built environment.

“AWC thanks Congress for recognizing the benefits of working forests and wood products as they continue to look at ways to reduce our country’s carbon emissions.”

Additional Background

  • FSGG Explanatory Statement page 43 – Using standard based metrics from Life Cycle Inventory and a set of standard-based Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA) practices, GSA is directed to analyze and evaluate existing buildings to assess their embodied carbon levels and create a “library of buildings”. The data would be made accessible to the public and inform future policy direction on reductions below the baselines to maximize carbon reduction in federal buildings. WBLCA is a science-based comparison that is the most accurate method for measuring carbon because it allows for the consideration of material choices across categories (e.g., wood to concrete), as opposed to the siloed material approach that results from simply assessing environmental product declarations in a single product category (e.g., wood to wood).
  • NDAA Military Construction (MILCON) – Contains the following provisions to advance the use of mass timber in Department of Defense construction projects:
    • $25 million MILCON Worldwide Unspecified, Defense-Wide, Planning and Design to be used to create range of “shelf designs” with mass timber as primary construction material.
    • $12 million Army RDTE Line 039 PE 0603119A Ground Advanced Technology for Mass Timber Applications for the Department of Defense.
    • $5.5 million Army RDTE Line 039 PE 0603119A Ground Advanced Technology – Cross Laminated Timber.
    • $5 million Air Force RDTE Line 081 0604617F Agile Combat Support – Modern timber products for expeditionary construction.