Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES): Software for Selecting Cost-Effective Green Building Products.
Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability
(BEES): Software for Selecting Cost-Effective Green
Lippiatt, B. C.; Boyles, A. S.
Performance in Product and Practice. CIB (International
Council for Innovation and Research in Building and
Construction) World Building Congress. Paper 151.
Proceedings. April 2-6, 2001, Wellington, New Zealand,
1-8 pp, 2001.
Available from:DOWNLOAD A NEW VERSION OF THE BEES (Building for
Environmental and Economic Sustainability) SOFTWARE
economic performance; environmental performance; green
buildings; life cycle assessment; life cycle costing;
cost effectiveness; computer programs
The BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic
Sustainability) tool implements a rational, systematic
technique for selecting cost-effective green building
products. The technique is based on consensus standards
and designed to be practical, flexible, and transparent.
Version 2.0 of the Windows-based decision support
software, aimed at designers, builders, and product
manufacturers, is available free of charge and includes
actual environmental and economic performance data for
65 building products across a range of functional
applications. BEES measures the environmental
performance of building products using the environmental
life-cycle assessment approach specified in the
International Standards Organization (ISO) 14040 series
of standards. The approach is based on the belief that
all stages in the life of a product generate
environmental impacts and must be analyzed. The stages
include raw material acquisition, manufacture,
transportation, installation, use, and waste management.
Economic performance is measured using the American
Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard
life-cycle cost method. The technique includes the costs
over a given study period of initial investment,
replacement, operation, maintenance and repair, and
disposal. Environmental and economic performance are
combined into an overall performance measure using the
ASTM standard for Multiattribute Decision Analysis.
Applying the BEES approach leads to several general
conclusions. First, environmental claims based on single
attributes, such as recycling, should be viewed with
skepticism. These claims do not account for the fact
that other impacts may indeed cause equal or greater
damage. Second, assessments must always be quantified on
a functional unit basis, such that the products being
compared are true substitutes for one another. Third, a
product may contain a high-impact constituent, but if
that constituent is a small portion of an otherwise
benign product, its significance decreases dramatically.
Finally, a short-lived, low first-cost product is often
not the cost-effective alternative. In sum, the answers
lie in the trade-offs. The BEES methodology is being
refined and expanded under sponsorship of the U.S. EPA
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program. The
EPP program is charged with carrying out Executive Order
13101, "Greening the Government Through Waste
Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition," which
encourages Executive agencies to reduce the
environmental burdens associated with the $200 billion
in products and services they buy each year, including
building products. BEES is being further developed as a
tool to assist the Federal procurement community in
carrying out the mandate of Executive Order 13101.