NDAA Includes Sustainable Building Materials Pilot Program
The House and Senate struck a deal to pass the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act last week without going through a formal Conference process. The legislation, which is expected to pass the Senate this week, contains a Sustainable Building Materials Pilot Program that requires the Department of Defense to build five buildings from sustainable building materials that are already authorized but for which a request for proposal has been released in areas of the country that are susceptible to extreme weather events. The Department must report to Congress on why the given military projects were selected, the carbon footprint over the life cycles of the buildings, the life cycle costs of the buildings, extreme weather resilience, construction times, and cost effectiveness of the buildings constructed of sustainable building materials compared to historically utilized building materials. Reports must also include "any updated guidance the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment has released in relation to the procurement policy for future military construction projects based on comparable benefits realized from use of sustainable building materials, including the guidance on prioritizing sustainable materials in establishing evaluation criteria for military construction project contracts when technically feasible. Sustainable building materials are defined as "any building material the use of which will reduce carbon emissions over the life cycle of the building. The term includes mass timber, concrete, and other carbon-reducing materials."
Although this Pilot Program includes more than just mass timber, it is important that these buildings are constructed for studies and reports to show the benefits of utilizing mass timber to meet the Department of Defense's construction needs in addition to budgetary and environmental goals. Constructing these buildings and studying them accordingly is the next step following the report that was included in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act that required the Secretary of Defense to report on mass timber utilization by the military