EPA seeks input on decarbonizing construction materials and products

On January 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first opportunities for public input on new programs focused on lower carbon construction materials made possible by a $350 million investment from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The Agency will hold three public webinars and will accept written feedback on establishing new grant and technical assistance programs, and a carbon labeling program for construction materials with substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA’s new programs will provide grants, technical assistance, and tools to help states and Tribal Nations, manufacturers, institutional buyers, real estate developers, builders, and others measure, report, and substantially lower the levels of embodied carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, use, and disposal of construction materials and products. These new programs, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, will build upon EPA’s work in the ENERGY STAR Industrial Program and the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, among others, to protect human health and the planet.

EPA will hold three public engagement webinars to solicit feedback from experts and stakeholders, including institutional buyers, developers, builders, manufacturers, and representatives from states, Tribal Nations, non-profit organizations, trade associations, and others.

  • March 2, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Construction Materials Prioritization and Environmental Data Improvement – This webinar will ask for feedback on how to prioritize construction materials and products and how to improve data on embodied greenhouse gas emissions through measurement, standardization, transparency and reporting criteria. Register here.
  • March 22, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Grants and Technical Assistance for Environmental Product Declarations – This webinar will ask for feedback on new grant and technical assistance programs to help businesses calculate and report the greenhouse gas emissions data for construction materials and products through Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Register here.
  • April 19, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Carbon Labeling – This webinar will ask for feedback on how EPA could develop a carbon labeling program for construction materials and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions. Register here.

In addition, EPA will issue a Request for Information to solicit written comments on the design of these new programs. Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, comments on any of the questions outlined should be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0924 on Regulations.gov by May 1, 2023. The Agency also published an interim determination under Inflation Reduction Act Sections 60503 and 60506 that was provided in December 2022 to the Department of Transportation and the General Services Administration on their Inflation Reduction Act funded procurement of construction materials and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA will use the public input received during the webinars and in writing to guide the development and implementation of its programs.

These actions support President Biden’s Buy Clean Initiative, which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the largest purchaser in the world to advance low-carbon construction materials across its procurement and funded infrastructure projects.

Learn more about these new programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Background

In August 2022, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the Inflation Reduction Act into law, creating the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in U.S. history. The Inflation Reduction Act will bolster U.S. energy security, help families save money on energy costs and prescription drugs, reduce the deficit, and create good-paying jobs. EPA received $41.5 billion in appropriations to develop and support 24 new and existing programs that monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, protect health and advance environmental justice.

Webinar: ESG: Value Chain Considerations & Expectations

Jan 24, 2023, noon-1 pm CST
Register here.

Deconstructing your company’s ESG Goals to identify key performance indicators and setting milestones can be difficult. It requires the assistance of multiple stakeholders and departments to fully understand the problem, propose goals, and monitor progress towards them. Adding another layer of complexity is coordinating with stakeholders from outside of your organization, especially in the value chain. 

Join ISN, the global leader in contractor and supplier management, to hear the importance of tracking ESG metrics throughout the value chain, how to leverage technology to track progress and best practices on integrating ESG expectations across the organization. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand the importance of tracking ESG metrics throughout the value chain
  • Identify potential obstacles and how to overcome them
  • Hear what best-in-class organizations expect from their contracts and suppliers 
  • Learn how truly sustainable businesses account for all three components of ESG and include metrics for data tracking in each

Moderator: 

  • John Davies, Senior VP, Senior Analyst, GreenBiz Group

Speakers: 

  • Jenny Buckley, Senior Vice President, ISN
  • Joe Schloesser, Vice President, ISN
  • Ryan Rodriguez, Senior Group Supervisor, ISN 
  • Walter Haug, Senior ESG Specialist, ISN

If you can’t tune in live, please register and GreenBiz will email you a link to access the webcast recording and resources, available to you on-demand after the live webcast.

Teaching Climate Change Essentials

Course begins January 17. Instruction is

Teaching Climate Change Essentials, offered by the Presidio Graduate School, is a six-week teacher professional development program designed to engage and equip elementary, middle, and high schools teachers with the tools needed to successfully incorporate climate change into their classrooms, regardless of grade level, subject, or state standards.

Enrollment is free for PD hours or CEUs.

A ‘bootcamp’ to help smaller cities win infrastructure grants

Read the full story at Route 50.

Small and midsize localities tend to lack the dedicated grant-writing teams and expertise that bigger towns use to score federal dollars. A new–and free–initiative aims to get them onto more equal footing competing for the funding.

Webinar: The Thrill of Bills: Leveraging Your Water Bills to Maximize Efficiency

Dec. 6, 2022, 10 am CST
Register here.

The amount of details, varying charges, calculations, and lack of explanations in water bills can be confusing. Join this webinar to learn about how understanding your utility bills and water rates can empower you to achieve greater cost savings through energy efficiency.

See nature like (and with) a biologist in new online courses

Read the full story from Rice University.

Online learners can follow Rice University biologist and author Scott Solomon into the wild through an engaging new series of courses focused on ecology, evolution and biodiversity.

2023 Indiana Sustainability and Resilience Conference set for February 17

The 2023 Indiana Sustainability and Resilience Conference is set for Friday, February 17 at the IUPUI Campus Center. Organized by the IU Environmental Resilience Institute and IUPUI Sustainability, the conference will feature speakers, panels, exhibits, trainings, and networking opportunities for climate and resilience advocates from across the state. The Indianapolis Airport Authority is the presenting supporter of ISRC 2023.

At the conference, attendees can expect to:

•    Learn about cross-sector collaboration to address climate change
•    Identify potential funding sources for climate and resilience work
•    Explore how to integrate climate research and practice
•    Develop new skills through interactive trainings
•    Network with other Indiana climate leaders

ERI brings expanded professional development opportunities to K-12 educators

Read the full story from Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute.

To help Indiana K-12 teachers better teach climate and environmental science in the classroom and meet new state science standards, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) is offering expanded professional development opportunities, including single-day and multi-day workshops and greater access to teaching resources and IU scientists.

The offerings are part of Educating for Environmental Change (EfEC), a collaboration between ERI, IU faculty, K-12 educators, and the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology. Expanded programming in 2022-23 is made possible by two anonymous donors and the IU Center for Rural Engagement.

Webinar: An Integrated Approach to Simplifying the Energy Transition

Nov 3, 2022, noon CT
Register here.

Nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies are committed to reducing their carbon footprint, yet the world currently faces pressures unprecedented in recent history – supply chain disruptions, energy price volatility, economic uncertainty and more. Organizations must navigate this environment while continuing to decarbonize, and many view these two goals as competing priorities. 

In fact, these two strategies can go hand in hand. In this webcast, learn how an integrated energy strategy can help organizations achieve their economic and environmental goals. We’ll discuss:   

  • How organizations can think across functions and energy solutions to create a holistic energy strategy that encompasses sustainability, decarbonization, flexibility, resilience, electrification and energy management 
  • Why today’s environment is creating new energy opportunities for organizations 
  • How one organization is executing its sustainability strategy for the future

Moderator

  • Heather Clancy, Vice President, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

Speakers

  • Micheal Grossner,  Senior Director of Sustainability, Wabtec Corporation.
  • Brian Quinlan, Partner Account Executive, Enel North America

Webinar: Circular Fashion Starts at the Beginning: An Eyewear Case Study

Oct 18, 2022, 11 am CT
Register here.

From our clothes and eyeglasses to the water bottles and handbags we carry, the choices we make about how we present ourselves to the world says a lot about who we are and what we value. And according to recent research from Shelton Group, a third of Americans want to be seen as someone who buys green products. What makes fashion green has everything to do with what it’s made from. While a lot of the focus on making fashion more sustainable is on the end-of-life impacts (148 metric tons of waste per year by 2030), we must also “green up” the inputs, using sustainable materials to minimize the disastrous impacts of unsustainable farming, logging and extraction, and pollution of waterways. These inputs must also be durable to ensure longevity of the final products. Eyewear crosses the boundaries between fashion and functionality, making materials highly critical. Join circular materials innovator Eastman and two leading eyewear companies as they discuss their journey to convert entire portfolios to sustainable materials.

In this hour-long webcast you’ll learn:

  • Key highlights from recent consumer research about expectations towards sustainable fashion accessories
  • How entire value chains from raw material producers up to final product makers can join forces to lead the way towards a full switch to sustainable portfolio in an effective manner
  • Key learnings and best practices from two leading eyewear companies on how they quickly and successfully adopted sustainable materials
  • How to build an effective message about sustainable materials and molecular recycling to get buy in from internal stakeholders and consumers

Moderator

  • Deonna Anderson, Senior Editor, GreenBiz Group

Speakers

  • Rachel Oakley, Global Segment Manager, Eyewear, Eastman
  • Alessandro Bellati, Director, Product Innovation & N.A. Product Design & Creation, SAFILO
  • Xenia Glutz Von Blotzheim, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility & CSR Communications, MYKITA

If you can’t tune in live, please register and GreenBiz will email you a link to access the webcast recording and resources, available to you on-demand after the live webcast.