Green building is great, but it’s not always cheap. BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) 2.0 — free, downloadable software developed by the U.S. government — can help by letting remodelers measure economic and environmental performance over a product’s life cycle.
Users begin by assigning a percentage of importance to each of the two factors. Then they choose at least two options to compare from more than 65 generic building products in categories such as flooring, siding and framing. BEES then graphs the performance of each product.
Using ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) standard life-cycle cost method, which covers initial investment, replacement, operation, maintenance and repair, and disposal costs, the program displays first and future costs. Environmental impact in up to 10 areas such as global warming and indoor air quality is also documented.
The Windows-based software is available at www.bfrl.nist.gov/oae/bees.html.