The BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) model provides a powerful technique for selecting cost-effective, environmentally-preferable building products. Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Engineering Laboratory, the tool is based on consensus standards and designed to be practical, flexible, and transparent. Version 4.0 of the decision support software, aimed at designers, builders, and product manufacturers, includes actual environmental and economic performance data for 230 building products.
BEES measures the environmental performance of building products by using the life-cycle assessment approach specified in the ISO 14040 series of standards. All stages in the life of a product are analyzed: raw material acquisition, manufacture, transportation, installation, use, and recycling and waste management. Economic performance is measured using the ASTM standard life-cycle cost method, which covers the costs 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 Multi-Attribute 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.
BEES has been supported in part by the U.S. EPA Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program. The EPP program is charged with carrying out Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management," which encourages Executive agencies to reduce the environmental burdens associated with the more than $230 billion in products and services they buy each year, including building products.