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Purpose of the Service Life and Maintenance Cost Database


Accurate and usable building owning and operating cost data is vital for our industry. Every day, engineers are asked to advise building owners and managers on strategic decisions involving the life cycle and functionality of their buildings. The current lack of valid data leaves engineers without a solid basis for making these decisions. As an organization widely recognized for its expertise in HVAC, ASHRAE is in the best position to effectively address this need.

As stated by the sponsoring ASHRAE Technical Committee TC 7.8, Owning and Operating Costs: “One of the major weaknesses in our industry has been the inability of decision- makers to distinguish between low price and best value in the selection of HVAC systems. The consensus within our industry is, and has been, that the use of life-cycle evaluations provides the most effective method for determining the best value of HVAC system alternatives. In order to facilitate the use of life-cycle analysis techniques by decision- makers, the necessary data must be available, current, and correctly applied. A review of the current published data found a number of areas where the information is lacking, while other information is outdated and often misapplied.” (2002)


The objectives of this research project were to:
  1. Develop an interactive Web-based database focusing on equipment service life and annual maintenance costs for a variety of building types and HVAC systems.
  2. Seed the database with at least 150 validated data sets.
  3. Incorporate the results into the appropriate sections of Chapter 36 of the HVAC Applications Handbook.
  4. Provide all this as a starting point for a new methodology for continuous updating of the data by the ASHRAE community.
The long-term intent of the project, as articulated by TC 7.8, is that an enlarged and diversified database will encourage the ASHRAE community to contribute their own service life and maintenance cost data, further expanding the utility of the tool. Over a period of time, this input will provide sufficient service life and maintenance cost data to allow the comparative analysis of many different HVAC system types in a broad variety of applications.