Wednesday 21 May 2014

Sustainable Building Material Index (SBMI)

The Sustainable Building Material Index (SBMI) is a useful methodology for understanding the nature and scale sustainability impacts associated with a building material and products. It provides a rapid way of capturing, presenting and comparing key sustainability impacts of building materials. This makes it highly relevant for Architects and Clients wishing to support sustainable development. It will also be useful to governments wishing to achieve beneficial social and economic impacts through construction and infrastructure investments.

The approach is innovative in that it includes socio-economic aspects, which are not included in current building product assessment tools. It however it does not provide the level of detail found in life cycle approaches and level of diagnostic functionality achieved in social or environmental life cycle assessment.  

Building product assessment data
In a developing countries environmental, social and economic data related to building materials is generally available. Environmental databases for materials, such as those used for life cycle assessment in Europe and the US, do not exist. Industry-specific social and economic statistics, similarly, may not exist. This means that data used for assessments of building materials must be sourced directly from building material and product manufacturers. The data required is defined by assessment criteria. These are generated through an analysis of the building manufacturing industry as a system, with inputs, outputs and social and economic impacts, as illustrated below.

SBMI criteria
This analysis provides a proxy set of indicators shown in the tables below. The first table lists ecological indicators and provides a proxy for ecological footprint impact of building materials. The second table lists human development indicators and provides a proxy for human development index impact of building materials.

Measuring performance of these indicators on a product manufacturing site provides an understanding of the sustainability impacts of processes associated with products.  This is captured and presented in the SBMI and reports such as the one below can be generated. 

More information on the Sustainable Building Material Index can be accessed here

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