ASTM Board Meets in London

Barbara Schindler

In October 2012, the ASTM board of directors spent four days in London, U.K., where they held their semiannual meeting, participated in a workshop and conducted outreach meetings. London joins other world-class cities as a destination for the 25-member board. Past meeting locations include Beijing, Berlin, Mexico City, New York City, Stockholm, Tokyo, Toronto and Washington, D.C.

In addition to the formal board sessions, which began on Oct. 14 and concluded on Oct. 17, board members and staff met with leadership of trade associations and corporations from various industry sectors in which ASTM standards are globally influential: metals, consumer products, chemicals, building construction, manufacturing and more. Thirty-one outreach visits were held with representatives from industry and government as well as with nongovernmental organizations. ASTM was also pleased to welcome current International Organization for Standardization (ISO) president, Terry Hill, as a luncheon speaker.

"Meeting in London presented excellent opportunities for our board and senior staff to engage our members and stakeholders and forge new relationships and initiatives that advance the global mission of ASTM International," said ASTM President James A. Thomas. "ASTM International is fortunate to count hundreds of members - as well as thousands of users - from the United Kingdom."

Workshop on Standards and Low Carbon Building Construction

The London board events included a half-day workshop showcasing the role of standards in the important goal of reducing carbon in the built environment. Co-hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects and ASTM International, the event was held on Oct. 16, 2012.

The program, Achieving Low Carbon Construction in Buildings: The Importance of Standards, was introduced by ASTM's 2012 chairman of the board, Kenneth F. Yarosh, global service line manager for the specialty chemicals business of Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich. Six presentations were divided into two panels led by ASTM board members Ralph M. Paroli, Ph.D., and Thomas A. Schwartz, P.E. Paroli is a director at the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Schwartz is senior principal, president and chairman of the board at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Waltham, Mass. Richard Waterhouse, chief executive, RIBA Enterprises, London, U.K., delivered the closing remarks.

Workshop Presentations

Amy A. Costello

Amy A. Costello, P.E., is an environmental sustainability manager at Armstrong World Industries Inc., a global floor, ceiling and cabinet design and manufacturing corporation based in Lancaster, Pa. Costello serves on ASTM Committee E60 on Sustainability and is chairman of the new ASTM Subcommittee E60.13 in Sustainable Manufacturing. She is also a member of the ASTM board of directors.

"Developing products and developing standards go hand in hand," said Costello in her presentation, "Roles of Standards and Norms in New Product Development for Low Carbon Buildings." "Standards govern basic acceptance criteria for new products; products developed based on existing standards are easier to launch."

Electrified Ceiling Grid - Standards were enabling tools in Armstrong's 2011 launch of the DC FlexZone Grid system, a ceiling grid wired throughout with low voltage direct current electrical power. The grid system accommodates direct use of on-site renewable energy and enables plug-and-play for devices as well as the ability to repurpose and reconfigure without rewiring. Armstrong is a founding member of the EMerge Alliance, an open industry association developing standards leading to the rapid adoption of DC power distribution in commercial buildings. EMerge Alliance completed the needed standards for using DC electricity in ceilings.

Owen Jenkins

Owen Jenkins is research director at CIRIA, London, U.K. A construction industry research and information association, CIRIA's mission is to improve the performance of all involved in construction and the environment through best practice guides, websites, events and training.

"The awareness of low carbon targets and the understanding of low carbon building tactics were the focus of Jenkins' presentation, "Raising Awareness and Instilling Confidence in New Approaches." While there are varying interests in relation to low carbon construction, Jenkins explained, "We are all together on this, in the same boat, but we come at it from different perspectives."

Joe Martin

Joe Martin is executive director of the Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, London, U.K. BCIS provides cost information to the construction industry and also offers consultancy and research support to public and private sector clients. Martin is a member of ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings and its Subcommittee E06.81 on Building Economics.

In his presentation, "From Counting Cost to Counting Carbon: Life Cycle Costing and Life Cycle Embodied Carbon," Martin examined calculating cradle to gate embodied carbon emissions.

RICS Information Paper - Martin is a part of the RICS Embodied Carbon Working Group, which developed the paper, "Methodology to Calculate Embodied Carbon of Materials, 1st Edition." The information paper offers professional guidance in measuring all the carbon emitted through the construction, occupation and end of the life of a building. It was produced in response to the UK government's Low Carbon Construction Plan (published June 2011) that called for the construction industry to support the development of embodied carbon measurement tools.

Craig Simmons

Craig Simmons, director and co-founder, Best Foot Forward, Oxford, U.K., is in charge of software design and methodology development as well as project oversight. Best Foot Forward is a sustainability consultancy that helps organizations to cost-effectively reduce their environmental impact.

Within the context of up to 56 percent of UK emissions potentially influenced by building design and refurbishment, Simmons addressed the topic of embodied carbon in construction and the need for standardized measurements.

Survey - "There is a clear need for standardization," said Simmons, who was key in a survey conducted in early 2012 to inform the development of the Greater London Authority's new guide to accounting and reporting embodied carbon emissions in construction. "Only about one third of respondees had ever used a third-party standard. Most were using in-house developed standards." Simmons' findings also showed that only 60 percent of respondees had ever calculated embodied carbon. Carbon is not routinely considered as a risk or a cost, revealing a need for better guidance on carbon-cost benefit analysis.

Low Carbon Olympic Games - London 2012 were the first Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to map a complete carbon footprint of the games over the entire project term. An estimated 40 percent footprint reduction was achieved, a notable accomplishment for an event where the original carbon footprint study found that the largest segment comprised embodied carbon in construction materials. In the Olympic Stadium alone, there was a 50 percent footprint reduction.

Martin Townsend

Martin Townsend is director, BREEAM, at BRE Global, London, U.K. BREEAM is a global design and assessment method for sustainable buildings. BRE Global, a part of BRE Group, is an independent third-party approvals organization that offers certification of products, services and systems internationally.

Apart from reducing risk, saving money and offering supply chain solutions, Townsend noted, "Standards are there to inspire; they allow industry to be agile." He highlighted the BRE Innovation Park Watford.

BRE Innovation Park - A low to zero carbon demonstration community, BRE Innovation Park Watford is home to some of the world's most sustainable buildings, landscape designs and hundreds of innovative low carbon materials and technologies. Since opening in 2005, BRE Innovation Park Watford has attracted some 60,000 visitors. The aim of the Innovation Park network is to provide a bridge for exchanging knowledge, to enable collaboration and unlock exporting potential.

S. Shyam Sunder

S. Shyam Sunder, Sc.D., is director of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., where he is responsible for NIST's programs in fire prevention and control, earthquake hazards reduction, windstorm impact reduction and construction safety teams. He is also responsible for NIST programs in manufacturing enterprise integration, smart grid systems, green manufacturing and construction, collaborative manufacturing research pilot grants and manufacturing fellowships. Sunder is a member of the ASTM board of directors.

Buildings are the largest energy consumer, using 72 percent of U.S. electricity and 55 percent of U.S. natural gas, explained Sunder in his talk, "Building Energy Efficiency - A U.S. Perspective." And the carbon footprint of buildings is large, approximately nine percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Sunder presented a future vision for new and existing buildings, and discussed the role of measurement science and standards. NIST was instrumental in the founding of ASTM Subcommittee E06.81 on Building Economics.

Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility - In September 2012, NIST unveiled a new laboratory designed to demonstrate that a typical home for a family for four can generate as much energy as it uses in a year. The unique facility looks and behaves like an actual house, simulating the activities of a family of four living in an energy-efficient home. Following the initial yearlong experiment, the facility will be used to improve test methods for energy-efficient technology and develop cost effective design standards for energy-efficient homes.

Rick Wheal

Rick Wheal, Ph.D., is an associate director at Arup, London, U.K., and a sustainability consultant specializing in renewable energy technologies, sustainable design and research. Arup offers professional services in building design, economics and planning, infrastructure design, management consulting and specialized technical services.

In his presentation, "Touching the Earth Increasingly Lightly," Wheal provided examples of initiatives in the built environment where low carbon is a focus, such as the Sydney Opera House; the Crystal, a sustainable cities initiative in London; the University of Hertfordshire; and the Low2No approach to construction in the city of Helsinki, Finland.

Low2No - Low carbon to no carbon, or Low2No, is an approach to engineering and onstruction that results in a sustainable built environment and creates the preconditions for ecological urban life. The first urban scale iteration of the Low2No model is a city block near Helsinki's city center. The block combines a 50 percent energy use reduction and on-site energy production with low carbon commercial and service offerings to make Finland's most innovative sustainable mixed-use development.

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