GSA buys American-made sustainable glass for Virginia courthouse as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda

Low-embodied carbon windows to be installed in the Powell Courthouse Annex

Low-embodied carbon windows to be installed in the Powell Courthouse Annex

RICHMOND — The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) awarded $5.5 million to repair and replace windows at the Lewis F. Powell Jr. U.S. Courthouse Annex in Richmond, Virginia, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, to support U.S. manufacturing and climate action. The investment from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)-- the largest climate investment in history– funding expands the scope of the original project to boost the building’s energy efficiency and support low-emissions manufacturing.

“We’re excited to be working with American manufacturers who are creating innovative products, driving sustainability, and creating good-paying manufacturing jobs here at home,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “American industry is proving that they can accomplish all three of those important goals and the federal government is looking forward to seeing even more products like this in the market.”

The award, plus the September 2023 GSA award of $5.3 million in IRA funds for window glass brings the project total to over $10 million for low-emissions glass. This glass will be used in the existing renovation project at the Powell Courthouse. This project is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s landmark federal Buy Clean Initiative, which uses public purchases of construction materials to spur demand for clean manufacturing. GSA awarded the overall Powell Courthouse renovation contract to the Whiting-Turner Contracting company following a competitive procurement. The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2025. 

Overall, the project is investing over $26 million in replacing roof, gutter and storm-drain components to stop leaks and interior water damage, and repairing or replacing the Courthouse windows with low-embodied carbon glass. The scope expansion will eliminate leaks and increase the energy efficiency of both the Courthouse and Annex buildings.  

The glass for this project is made in the United States by Vitro Architectural glass and meets one of the limits (top 40%) established in GSA’s IRA Low Embodied Carbon Material Requirements for flat glass. The product meets the Courthouse’s needs, is competitively priced, and generates fewer emissions from manufacturing, with a third-party verified emissions intensity of 1,350 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per metric ton. 

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $3.4 billion for GSA for construction and modernization projects, emerging and sustainable technologies, and related sustainability and environmental programs. These investments are expected to catalyze research into and the development and availability of low-embodied carbon manufacturing, while delivering more sustainable and cost-efficient high-performance facilities. These investments are advancing the Federal Buy Clean Initiative, through which GSA and other federal agencies are, for the first time, prioritizing the purchase of asphalt, concrete, glass and steel that have lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production, use, and disposal. These projects will implement new technologies and accelerate GSA’s efforts toward achieving a net-zero emissions federal building portfolio by 2045. Through these investments, GSA plans to avoid more than 2.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking a half-million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles off the road for one year.


About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing over $100 billion in products and services via federal contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. 

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