Buy Clean California

On January 1, 2020, California’s AB 262, the “Buy Clean California Act” requires Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for certain materials being specified for state building projects. This means that suppliers’ emissions performance will be taken into account when an agency is contracting to buy steel, flat glass, and mineral wool insulation for infrastructure projects.

On January 1, 2020, California’s AB 262, the “Buy Clean California Act” requires Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for certain materials being specified for state building projects.  This means that suppliers’ emissions performance will be taken into account when an agency is contracting to buy steel, flat glass, and mineral wool insulation for infrastructure projects.

To ease this process and help educate anyone – from specifiers to contractors, tradespeople to manufacturers – USGBC-LA has teamed up with the Carbon Leadership Forum and Sustainable Minds to develop a series of webinars and in-person trainings. This partnership has developed a Buy Clean California compliance search/sort across the EPD database in the EC3 tool. The Sustainable Minds Transparency Catalog will also develop a Buy Clean California filter that enables users to find all manufacturers with EPDs in the included MasterFormat® sections in one click.  

These educational programs and easy to use tools will provide all parties involved in state-funded building projects the information they need to understand and comply with the adoption of EPDs in the marketplace (AB 262), as well as secure a better understanding of the embodied carbon in materials.   

The USGBC-LA webinars and in-person trainings, held during the first half of 2020, will train the design, building and manufacturing communities on:

  • The use of the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (“EC3”) tool, a free, open-access tool that allows users to calculate upfront embodied carbon emissions associated with materials production and construction processes.  
  • How to utilize the ‘Buy Clean’ layer, developed specifically for California by C Change Labs.  This will allow for easy sorting, revealing those materials that meet the Buy Clean criteria within the EC3 tool’s “Find and Compare Materials” feature.
  • The use of the Sustainable Minds Transparency Catalog, including how to read EPDs, and how to use the newly integrated ‘Buy Clean’ filter.  The continually updated and curated Transparency Catalog includes every building product manufacturer in North America creating disclosures across 21 MasterFormat® divisions and lists all publicly available EPDs from every program operator in the US and Canada.
  • How embodied carbon results from the EC3 tool will be displayed in the Sustainable Minds Transparency Catalog listings, helping specifiers select low carbon products that link to the EPD page in the EC3 tool to start modeling.

Coordinated by USGBC-LA, this partnership and the trainings represent USGBC-LA’s ongoing mission to offer programs that connect policy to the marketplace, contribute to workforce development, and provide educational opportunities for those involved in every level of the sustainable built community to increase their knowledge of both the how and the why of their job.

If you’d like to inquire about the upcoming webinars or in-person sessions, please email

Buy Clean California Background

The Buy Clean approach allows California to help clean businesses and industries maintain their position as strong, global leaders on climate action. It creates additional motivation for suppliers to reduce their climate pollution. The state’s substantial purchasing power already makes it an attractive market for firms across the United States, and around the world.

Key dates have been updated for when the EPDs will be required by the state for procurement on new projects (Reference: DGS). The key dates are:

  • January 1, 2019 – EPDs will be requested by the state.
  • January 1, 2020 – EPDs will be required by the state.
  • January 1, 2021 – DGS publishes the maximum acceptable GWP for eligible materials.
  • July 1, 2021 – EPDs will be required and used to gauge GWP compliance of eligible materials.

*The Governor has granted additional time: The act requires an awarding authority, on and after July 1, 2019, to require a successful bidder for a contract to submit an environmental product declaration for each eligible material and to include in a specification for bids that the facility-specific global warming potential for any eligible material does not exceed the maximum acceptable global warming potential for that material, and prohibits a bidder for a contract from installing any eligible materials on the project until a facility-specific environmental product declaration is submitted.

This bill would instead make those provisions applicable to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2021, and would make those provisions inapplicable to an eligible material for a particular contract if the awarding authority makes a specified determination or in cases of emergency or other specified circumstances. The bill would direct an awarding authority, from January 1, 2019, until January 1, 2020, to request, and, from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021, to require, that a successful bidder for a contract submit a current facility-specific environmental product declaration.

  • Take action: Visit this page to download the presentation and other valuable resources from the first public workshop held on June 26, 2018.
  • On October 31, 2019 DGS held a second external stakeholder meeting. Presentation slides are available at the link below:
  • On June 26, 2018 DGS held its first external stakeholder meeting. Comment period responses are available at the link below:


Green Under Pressure produced two podcasts (each 6 min.) digging into USGBC-LA’s Buy Clean Program leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit.

The two podcasts feature multiple contributors and advocates of the state’s mandate and USGBC-LA’s program. (For an introductory podcast, please click here.)

Green Under Pressure can be subscribed to on iTunes and on Android podcasting apps.

Buy Clean California: Government & Companies Join Forces to Close the Carbon Loophole!

  • Spending taxpayer dollars consistent with California’s climate change goals.
  • The State of California spends over $10Billion annually on infrastructure. Typical projects include capital facilities associated with land, streets and highways, buildings, and utility systems.

Sample State Infrastructure Investments:

  • Water Resources; State Water Project
  • Transportation; highways, bridges, offices of DMV DOT CHP
  • Higher Education; UC and CSU campuses
  • Natural Resources; 278 parks
  • Criminal Justice; Prisons, Courthouses
  • Health Services; Mental hospitals
  • General Government Services; 224 state-owned Office structures

Visit Buy Clean California

View a sample Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)


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