In order to collect the variety of important nuclear-related activity being conducted across ASTM technical committees, an online nuclear portal was launched in 2012. The portal highlights the latest information on newly published ASTM International nuclear energy standards; proposed new standards and revisions to current standards, schedules of upcoming meetings and symposia; and video presentations from nuclear industry officials. In addition, the portal features a blog where visitors can post comments or questions related to nuclear industry standardization. Also available in the portal is the printable booklet, ASTM Roadmap in Support of Commercial Nuclear Power, a comprehensive look at nuclear energy information as it relates to ASTM technical committees and standards Visit www.astm.org/portals/nuclear.
In 2012, ASTM International became a Program Operator for Product Category Rules (PCRs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in response to the growing need to understand the real environmental impact of products from raw material extraction to disposal and recycling. PCRs detail the rules and guidelines for developing environmental declarations for products that can fulfill equivalent functions. EPDs will be verified to ensure their adherence to ISO 14040 standards as well as to ensure that life cycle assessment data accurately describes the environmental aspects of a product. ASTM technical advisory committees oversee the development process for PCRs through ASTM’s certification program.
In conjunction with the 2012 fall meeting of the ASTM International board of directors in London, ASTM co-hosted a workshop, “Achieving Low Carbon Construction in Buildings – The Importance of Standards,” with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The workshop highlighted the latest innovative projects undertaken by the speakers, covering such topics as the well-established role of ASTM standards in the construction industry, with an increasing focus on sustainable construction. Several ASTM board members presented at the workshop, including Amy A. Costello, P.E., environmental sustainability manager at Armstrong World Industries Inc., a member of Committee E60 on Sustainability and chairman of the new Subcommittee E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing.
A new ASTM subcommittee, D18.26, was created on hydraulic fracturing, a well stimulation process used to maximize the extraction of underground resources, including oil, natural gas and even geothermal energy. Increasingly, hydraulic fracturing technologies are being used to tap into the vast reserves of natural gas and oil found in shale formations thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. The new subcommittee will help chart a safe and efficient course for the future of hydraulic fracturing operations.
"I recently had the opportunity toparticipate in official discussionrelated to the revision of section 8.1.7 of the ASTM E1527 standard as well as provide recommendations on various aspects of environmental database updates and proposed language revisions. Having participated alongside other environmental data professionals in analyzing the standard and exchanging ideas about potential areas of improvement, I can tell you it is a privilege to be part of a process that is truly democratic.”
Ten standards developed by ASTM International Committee D19 on Water were included in a final rule published in the Code of Federal Regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve methods for measuring regulated pollutants in wastewater. Many of the standards in the Methods Update Rule are either new or revised standards for the analysis of cyanides in water. Conventional cyanide methods used for compliance monitoring have historically been problematic due to interference issues. According to the EPA, the standards being added to 40 CFR 136, Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants, “will provide increased flexibility to the regulated community and laboratories in their selection of analytical methods for use in Clean Water Act programs.”
In November 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule on “Designation of Product Categories for Federal Procurement,” which expands the “Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement” and designates 12 product categories within which biobased products will be afforded federal procurement preference. USDA will continue to use a standard from Committee D20 on Plastics, ASTM D6866, Standard Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis, to determine the biobased content for these new products addressed in the expansion of the guidelines.
There are 46 ASTM International standards cited in the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), which was published in March after a three-year collaborative development process. The IgCC is the first model code to include sustainability measures for entire construction projects, and is expected to increase cost savings and job growth while enabling safe and sustainable building design and construction. The standards of 13 ASTM technical committees are referenced in the IgCC, with topics ranging from air quality to thermal insulation, including ASTM green construction standards such as C1549 on solar reflectance, E2399 on green roof systems and E2635 on water conservation. The IgCC and the many ASTM standards referenced in it serve as a resource for policymakers, industry leaders, architects and developers, environmental advocates and the public.
ASTM International Committee E60 on Sustainability created a new subcommittee, E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing, to facilitate the development and use of sustainable manufacturing processes. Sustainable manufacturing minimizes negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and other natural resources and incorporates economically sound processes that are safe for employees, consumers and communities.
ASTM International Committee F40 on Declarable Substances in Materials formed a new subcommittee, F40.04 on Rare Earth Materials. The mining, refining and recycling of rare earth materials needs to be carefully managed to make more efficient use of limited resources. Standards developed by F40.04 will be used across a wide range of industries, including defense, energy, automotive, electronics and mining.
ASTM International and UL hosted a workshop, “Sustainable Products and Their Importance to Green Buildings: A Focus on Standards and Certification,” as part of the European Union Sustainable Energy Week, held June 18-22. The event, which took place on June 20 in Brussels, Belgium, focused on the environmental life cycle of building materials and better metrics of energy performance through standards and certification.
Subcommittee E44.25 on Heat Metering was formed out of a memorandum of understanding signed in late 2011 by ASTM International and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials to establish a framework for the development of ASTM standards for heat metering. The standardization of metering instrumentation will enhance the energy, financial and environmental benefits generated from thermal energy sources and technologies.
Subcommittee C01.98 on Sustainability Assessment was formed to support the development of standards for assessing sustainability in the manufacture and use of hydraulic cement, and will coordinate activities with Committees C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates and E60 on Sustainability.