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Fact Sheet: Green Contract Language

Ohio Environmental Council, January 8, 2013

What is “Green” Contract Language?

Green contract language (also known as “clean contracting”) is a way that businesses operating diesel vehicles and equipment can help make a difference in our air quality.

It is a requirement that directs the contractor to adhere to certain “clean” pollution control technology, fuel, and/or work practices during the completion of a construction project.

Throughout the U.S. there are approximately 2 million pieces of construction equipment; in Ohio, at least 50,000.

A typical 175-hp bulldozer emits as much as particle pollution from 500 new cars. New regulations will ensure new engines after 2010 will be cleaner and by 2014 off-road vehicles will be up to 90% cleaner, but the legacy fleet will continue to contribute to air quality problems for the next 20-30 years.


Contract specification – requires the contractor to adhere to certain requirements during completion of the project. Any additional costs to meet these requirements can be built into the bid or included in the overall project cost.

Contract preference – gives preference to bids that include emission controls and cleaner fuels.

Contract allowance – or pool of money can be made available to the winning bidder to cover the costs of adhering to the specification. This helps level the playing field for small contractors. This pool of money can also take the form of state and federal grants.

Who is Using Green Contract Language?

  • MA Highway Dept. Construction Specs
  • CT Dept. of Transportation
  • NY State Dept. of Transportation
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Cook County, IL


  • Big Dig in Boston
  • O’Hare Airport
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Boston)
  • Dan Ryan Expressway Rebuild (IL)
  • World Trade Center

(Fact sheet originally produced in September 2009)