JBCPR  Vol.1 No.4 , December 2013
A Multi-Criteria Decision Support System for the Selection of Low-Cost Green Building Materials and Components
Abstract
The necessity of having an effective computer-aided decision support system in the housing construction industry is rapidly growing alongside the demand for green buildings and green building products. Identifying and defining financially viable low-cost green building materials and components, just like selecting them, is a crucial exercise in subjectivity. With so many variables to consider, the task of evaluating such products can be complex and discouraging. Moreover, the existing mode for selecting and managing, often very large information associated with their impacts constrains decision-makers to perform a trade-off analysis that does not necessarily guarantee the most environmentally preferable material. This paper introduces the development of a multi-criteria decision support system (DSS) aimed at improving the understanding of the principles of best practices associated with the impacts of low-cost green building materials and components. The DSS presented in this paper is to provide designers with useful and explicit information that will aid informed decision-making in their choice of materials for low-cost green residential housing projects. The prototype MSDSS is developed using macro-in-excel, which is a fairly recent database management technique used for integrating data from multiple, often very large databases and other information sources. This model consists of a database to store different types of low-cost green materials with their corresponding attributes and performance characteristics. The DSS design is illustrated with particular emphasis on the development of the material selection data schema, and application of the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) concept to a material selection problem. Details of the MSDSS model are also discussed including workflow of the data evaluation process. The prototype model has been developed with inputs elicited from domain experts and extensive literature review, and refined with feedback obtained from selected expert builder and developer companies. This paper further demonstrates the application of the prototype MSDSS for selecting the most appropriate low-cost green building material from among a list of several available options, and finally concludes the study with the associated potential benefits of the model to research and practice.

Cite this paper
Yang, J. and Ogunkah, I. (2013) A Multi-Criteria Decision Support System for the Selection of Low-Cost Green Building Materials and Components. Journal of Building Construction and Planning Research, 1, 89-130. doi: 10.4236/jbcpr.2013.14013.
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