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ASTM Developing Environmental Standards for Roofing Materials

Asphalt Shingles

Group’s goal is to offer contractors uniform life cycle comparisons.

CDR Staff October 18, 2012

ASTM International, West Conshohocken, Pa., has announced a new initiative designed to develop guidelines for environmental declarations and claims used in the marketing of roofing products.

“As green and sustainability become more prevalent terms, and measurement systems and labels more common, the need is growing to understand the real environmental impact of products from raw material extraction to disposal and recycling,” says ASTM in an October 2012 news release.

"The ASTM International program will provide scientifically-based, quantifiable information about product parameters such as resource consumption and ozone depletion, which will give both businesses and consumers an understanding of a product's real impact on the environment,” says Timothy Brooke, ASTM International’s vice president of certification, training and proficiency testing.

According to ASTM, the new standards will include both Product Category Rules (PCRs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

PCRs “will detail the rules and guidelines for developing environmental declarations for products that can fulfill equivalent functions,” says ASTM. “EPDs will be verified to ensure their adherence to the ISO 14040 standards as well as to ensure that life cycle assessment data accurately describes the environmental aspects of a product.”

ASTM, in its news release, says it has developed its program in accordance with ISO 14025 - Environmental Labels and Declarations - Type III Environmental Declarations - Principles and Procedures. Representatives of the roofing industry are already working with ASTM to develop PCRs, according to the group.

“Virtually every roofing product on the market now touts its green benefits, but it is often difficult for the specifier, contractor and building owner to evaluate the veracity and relevance of the marketing claims,” says Philip Moser, an engineer and building envelope consultant at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Waltham, Mass., who also is a member of ASTM's Committee D08 on Roofing and Waterproofing.

“Once consensus-based PCRs are developed for the North American roofing industry, environmental declarations can use a consistent format, and, more importantly, be based on a more consistent set of calculations and assumptions,” adds Moser. “The end result is a win-win-win for responsible manufacturers, for concerned professionals and consumers, and for the environment.”
 
One proposed standard practice will give guidance about information that all PCRs should contain regardless of the product. “For example, one life cycle assessment practitioner may assume that a product is sent to a landfill at the end of life while another may assume that a product is incinerated,” says Amy Costello, an engineer and senior environmental scientist at Armstrong World Industries Inc., Lancaster, Pa. Costello also is an E60 member and a current member of the ASTM board of directors.

“Different environmental impacts result from these two different end-of-life scenarios. This standard will fill in many of the gaps that exist in current life cycle assessment standards," adds Costello.
 
ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development organizations in the world. Its development of international standards is designed to offer “coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency.” ASTM standards used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transaction applications.

ASTM says inquiries about the new PCRs and verifying EPDs are welcome and that those wishing to  contact ASTM's Certification and Declarations Department can do so at cert@astm.org or visit www.astm.org/EPDs.
 

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