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Building Manager Green Tip

August 2013

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Life Cycle Costing Calculator Update

Harvard Life Cycle Calculator

Life Cycle Costing (LCC) is a method to calculate the full costs and savings of a project including initial costs, utility consumption, operations & maintenance, and replacement costs over a set period of time. Years ago Harvard University developed a calculator to ensure consistent reporting of results via standardization of discount, escalation and utility rates viewed over a 20 year span. 

In the years following its release, the Harvard Life Cycle Costing Calculator has been instrumental in ensuring that schools and units are considering the long-term financial impact of the decisions they make as it relates to utility consumption, maintenance, and their associated costs. The Green Building Services and Energy & Utilities departments were tasked with updating the calculator to address common problems that have been identified over time, and after thorough review and approval by the Sustainability and Energy Management Council, the updated calculator is now officially released!

What's New?

Harvard Life Cycle Costing Calculator

While the fundamental economic calculations remain largely unchanged, the new calculator features a series of usability improvements that make it easier to work with:

    • Single Calculation Method - The previous edition featured two methods for calculation that often led to confusion, but the new system features a single, clearly marked INPUTS tab that is the only area needed to complete all analyses.
    • GHG Escalation - For the first time, greenhouse gas emission rates for Harvard's District Utilities are projected forward to account for planned improvements such as additional cogeneration capacity and other capital improvements.  
    • Embedded Guidance and Instructions - While the older calculator required a separate document for instructions, the new version contains detailed guidance embedded as comments within each cell. 
    • Narratives and Analysis - Also embedded within the calculator is ample space to provide supporting documentation including cost assumptions, analysis, and additional information that was previously unavailable.
    • Organizational Improvements -  The calculator has been reformatted to allow for easier printing and viewing while also providing a more intuitive interface for users.  


Green Building Services is happy to offer LCC training, both for decision makers regarding how to review a report or more extensive training for those who will be entering data firsthand. Contact joel_mckellar@harvard.edu for more information about setting up a session.

The Monthly Green Building Tip!

Many of you are receiving this email because you have downloaded the Harvard LCC Calculator in the past.  For those that are not regular subscribers to our tip, we will not contact you again until the next update, but know that Harvard provides a free, monthly Green Building Tip that covers topics and lessons learned by the Green Building Services team at Harvard.  

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Green Building Services provides consulting services to ensure that the design, construction and operation of Harvard's built environment has minimal environmental and human health impacts, maximizes occupant comfort and generates an awareness of sustainable design and building operations. Visit our website to learn more about the services we offer, or read the Harvard Sustainability Impact Report to learn about the university's progress so far.