Sustainability impacts of building products: An assessment methodology for developing countries
Keywords:Sustainability, Building materials, Methodology, Sustainable building material index (SBMI)
This article investigates sustainability impacts of building products during production stage in developing countries. An analysis of literature is undertaken in order to establish current building product assessment methodologies and their relevance to developing country contexts. The review finds that many of these methodologies have limited applicability to developing countries and, therefore, an alternative methodology, termed the Sustainable Building Material Index (SBMI), is proposed. The SBMI methodology draws on both a life-cycle assessment approach and an expanded definition of sustainability, which includes social and economic aspects as well as environmental impacts, to develop a sustainability impact index of building products. The article describes and critically evaluates the SBMI and makes recommendations for further research. It appears that the SBMI has potential as methodology for establishing, and presenting, sustainability impacts of building products in developing countries. It is innovative as it provides a way of capturing simple socio-economic sustainability aspects related to building products that do not include other building product assessment methodologies. This aspect makes it particularly relevant to developing countries where there is a strong interest in using construction and related industries to create beneficial social and economic impacts such as job creation and training.
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