Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) is a tool developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to allow designers, builders, product manufacturers, and consumers to select cost-effective, environmentally-preferable building products based on consensus standards and designed to be practical, flexible, and transparent.
There have been many versions of BEES since its initial release in 1997, updating its approach as science and knowledge related to sustainability has evolved over time while keeping its two key underlying methodologies the same. 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 end of life 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. 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 Online 2.1 includes life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) results developed based on current Product Category Rules (PCRs) for each product category, which are the LCIA results necessary for developing an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). The product categories in BEES Online 1.0 are currently being updated and converted over to BEES 2.1. Future versions of BEES Online 2.1 will incorporate additional product categories based on stakeholder feedback and industry participation.