BEES logo.

Powerful technique for selecting cost-effective, environmentally preferable building products. BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) is based on consensus standards and designed to be practical, flexible, and transparent. BEES reduces complex, science-based technical content (e.g., over 400 environmental flows from raw material acquisition through product disposal) to decision-enabling results and delivers them in a visually intuitive graphical format. The Windows-based decision support software, aimed at designers, builders, and product manufacturers, includes actual environmental and economic performance data for nearly 200 building products (both generic and brand-specific).��

BEES measures the environmental performance of building products by using the environmental life-cycle assessment approach specified in ISO 14040 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. Screen Shots


environmental performance, green buildings, life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, sustainable development



Expertise Required



Over 9000 copies of BEES 2.0 requested by users in over 80 countries.


Designers, specifiers, builders, product manufacturers, purchasers, researchers, and policy makers.


User may set relative importance weights for 1) synthesizing up to 12 environmental impact scores (global warming, acid rain, eutrophication, fossil fuel depletion, indoor air quality, habitat alteration, ozone depletion, smog, human health, ecological toxicity, criteria air pollutants, and water intake) into an environmental performance score, 2) discounting future costs to their equivalent present value, and 3) combining environmental and economic performance scores into an overall performance score. Default values provided for all of this windows-based input. Weighting is optional.


Summary graphs depicting life-cycle environmental and economic performance scores for competing building product alternatives. Detailed graphs also available depicting physical flow quantities for each environmental impact (e.g., grams of carbon dioxide for the global warming impact), embodied energy, and first and future costs.

Computer Platform

Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, or XP personal computer with a 486 or higher microprocessor, 32 Megabytes or more of RAM, at least 110 Megabytes of available disk space, and a printer.

Programming Language

CA Visual Objects


Offers a unique blend of environmental science, decision science, and economics. It uses life-cycle concepts, is based on consensus standards, and is designed to be practical, flexible, and transparent. It is practical in its systematic packaging of detailed, science-based, quantitative environmental and economic performance data in a manner that offers useful decision support. It is flexible in allowing tool users to customize judgments about key study parameters. It is transparent in documenting and providing all the supporting performance data and computational algorithms.


Includes environmental and economic performance data for only 200 building products covering 23 building elements.



National Institute of Standards and Technology


Office of Applied Economics, Building and Fire Res
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8603
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8603
United States


(301) 975-6133


(301) 975-5337




BEES 3.0 downloadable free of charge from the web site. BEES 3.0 CD and printed documentation available free of charge through the EPA Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse at (202) 566-0799 or