The Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act, or LECCLA is state legislation developed, drafted, and advocated for by OpenAir members that proposes new climate-impact based criteria and incentives for concrete procurement by states. LECCLA was the very first bill generated by OpenAir members, originating in its very first form in New York State in Summer 2019. In the years since, versions of the bill have become law in New York, Virginia and New Jersey, with other LECCLA inspired legislation introduced in Massachusetts and Illinois as of December 2022. LECCLA has also directly or indirectly inspired or influenced elements of other local government, municipal, state and federal policy - including the Hastings Resolution (local gov procurement), the NYC Clean Construction Executive Order 23, the Federal Buy Clean program of 2022, and NYS Executive Order 22 (climate procurement).
NOTE: With the passage of the New Jersey LECCLA in December 2022, there are presently no current OpenAir-led LECCLA campaigns in progress at the time of this post. However, any OpenAir advocates in other states/countries who are interested in advancing new campaigns in the future are strongly encouraged to do so (!), and should contact OpenAir co-founder @Neidl_c for further guidance.
- New Jersey - Susan Dorward, Sean Mohen
- New York - Chris Neidl (@Neidl_c) and Jamie Rogers
- Virginia - Nikhil Neelakantan
- Legislation Development - OpenAir members researched, developed and wrote various versions of LECCLA supporting its introduction in different state legislatures.
- Citizen Lobbying - Direct engagement by citizen advocates to build support and co-sponsorship by legislators and Governors
- Coalition-Building - Outreach activities that aim to educate and enlist stakeholders and civil society organizations to formally support of mission objectives.
- The New Jersey Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (Bill Text) 2021/22
- [The New York Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (Bill Text)]
- The Massachusetts LECCLA (Bill Text)
- The Virginia LECCLA (Bill Text) 2021-22
LECCLA: A Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act for Pennsylvania
LECCLA proposes tax incentives, combined with other common sense support policies which will help accelerate the decarbonization of CONCRETE through the power of state procurement and private sector innovation.
INTRODUCTION: CONCRETE MATTERS TO CLIMATE
Concrete is the second most used substance behind water and the most common building material on earth; between 30 and 50 billion tons are produced annually. It’s main binding ingredient, Portland cement, is a leading industrial source of carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for approximately 7-8% of global emissions – roughly four times that of commercial aviation. *
40% of all concrete in the US is procured for public projects.** State procurement of concrete, therefore, can be leveraged to build demand and broad market acceptance for a range of safe, cost-effective and high impact low carbon concrete materials and production methods.
LECCLA POLICY OVERVIEW
The Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (LECCLA), which recently passed with major bipartisan vote in New Jersey, is legislation that proposes a new way of factoring climate impact into state procurement of concrete. Versions of the bill have been passed in New York State and this approach has influenced proposals in California, other states, and the federal level.
An established Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), a product label somewhat like a nutrition label on food products, will validate the extent to which the concrete meets state established standards for having low carbon emissions resulting from its production (“low embodied carbon”) based on industry standards. For background information visit www.nrmca.org/EPD.
The EPD will be used to determine a concrete product’s Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is a numeric value that measures the climate impact of gas emissions. Emissions attributed to concrete production include those from mining, refining, manufacturing, and shipping.
ESTABLISHING MAXIMUM “GLOBAL WARMING POTENTIAL” (GWP) THRESHOLDS FOR MOST CONCRETE APPLICATIONS
LECCLA directs the state to establish GWP percentage reduction thresholds for concrete specified for state construction projects. All concrete used in state projects must fall below GWP percentage reduction thresholds to be eligible for the performance tax incentives created by the bill. Thresholds will be adjusted over time, following bi-annual evaluation by designated state agencies.
A GWP PERFORMANCE TAX INCENTIVE TO SPUR INNOVATION AND ACCCELERATE DECARBONIZATION OF CONCRETE.
LECCLA will establish a monetary incentive for concrete producers that deliver EPD-verified concrete that falls substantially below the state’s maximum GWP threshold, including up to $3000 for the cost to complete the verification process of the EPD.
Secondly, concrete producers may apply for a 5% tax credit for their production of verifiable low embodied carbon concrete, plus an additional 3% for producers who also incorporate carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology into their production process.
LECCLA directs state agencies to adopt performance-based specification standards for concrete used in public projects, rather than prescribing specific materials and proportions, thereby assuring highest qualities of strength, durability and overall standards while permitting vendors to embrace established and emerging low carbon innovations with superior structural and environmental characteristics.
*Thomas Czigler, Reiter,S.,Schulze,P. and Somers,K (2020). „Laying the foundation for Zero-Carbon Cement” McKinsey and Company. https://mckinsey.com/industries/chemicals/our-insights/laying-the-foundation-for-zero-carbon-cement
**Hasanbeigi,A.,and Khutal, H. 2021”Scale of government procurement of carbon intensive materials in the U.S. Tampa Bay, FL.” Global Efficiency Intelligence,LLC. Accessed March 25, 2021. Scale of Government Procurement of Carbon-Intensive Materials in US — Global Efficiency Intelligence
Additional Resources: A Design Guide to State and Local Low-Carbon Concrete Procurement