Editor's note: The following article is adapted from
"Single Ply Roofing: Introduction to a New Sustainability Standard
for the Roofing Industry," which appeared in the August 2011 issue
of Journal of ASTM International.
In October 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514,
"Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic
Performance," which established "an integrated strategy toward
sustainability in the Federal Government" to "make reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions a priority for Federal agencies."
As a result of the order, government agencies, including the
General Services Administration (GSA), are looking to incorporate
environmentally preferable product (EPP) requirements into their
procurements. And state and municipal governments are following the
federal government's example. Now, companies are trying to meet the
government's demands for sustainable products, as well as market
demand by consumers and retailers.
Although the executive order's policies are admirable, the
challenge in complying with those policies is figuring out how to
objectively define and assess a given product's sustainable
attributes. In the roofing industry, as well as in many
construction sectors, most sustainability standards are based on a
single attribute, such as membrane reflectivity or recycled
content. Additionally, a significant shortcoming of many of these
metrics is they are not national standards and, therefore, have not
undergone the rigorous consensus-based drafting and vetting
procedures required by the American National...
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