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Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES).

pdf icon Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES). (781 K)
Lippiatt, B. C.

CIB World Building Congress 1998: Construction and the Environment. Proceedings. International Council for Building Research Studies and Documentation. June 7-12, 1998, Gavle, Sweden, 779-788 pp, 1998.

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For more information about BEES visit the BEES Web Page:


building products; economic performance; environmental performance; green buildings; life cycle assessment; life cycle costing; multiattribute decision making; sustainable development


The BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) software implements a rational, systematic technique for balancing the environmental and economic performance of building products. The technique is based on consensus standards and designed to be practical, flexible, and transparent. The Windows-based decision support software, aimed at designers, builders, and product manufacturers, includes actual environmental and economic performance data for a number of building products. BEES measures the environmental performance of building products by using the environmental life-cycle assessment approach specified in the latest versions of ISO 14000 draft standards. The approach is based on the belief that all stages in the life of a product generate environmental impacts and must therefore be analyzed. The stages include raw material acquisition, manufacture, transportation, installation, use, and recycling 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. For the entire BEES analysis, building products are defined and classified according to the ASTM standard classification for building elements known as UNIFORMAT II. The BEES methodology is being refined and expanded over the next three years under sponsorship of the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program. The EPP program is charged with carrying out Executive Order 12873, "Federal Acquisition, Recycling, and Waste Prevention," which directs Executive agencies to reduce the environmental burdens associated with products. BEES is being further developed as a tool to assist the Federal procurement community in carrying out the mandate of Executive Order 12873.