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Life Cycle Costing ‘Key Benchmark’ for Smart Building Industry

High performance buildingPurchases in the intelligent building industry are most often based on the lowest costs and relationships with past vendors rather than cost evaluations, according to findings from a collaborative research project that will be published in October.

But industry insiders do agree that the use and adoption of life cycle costing as a prerequisite for building technology purchases will be a key benchmark for the future, say Frost & Sullivan and Continental Automated Building Association (CABA), which collaborated on the study.

To reduce the challenges surrounding building technology purchases and maximize return on investment, the two organizations are working on defining the role of life cycle costing. Their study will cover the adequacy of training and education initiatives and the collaborative efforts required to make life cycle costing and related methods a mainstream component. They will also look at the issues, challenges and the relevance of current tools to accurately evaluate life cycle costing.

CABA is an industry association dedicated to advancing intelligent homes and intelligent buildings technologies.

Building technology firms like Seimens and Honeywell have endorsed the goals of the study, according to Frost & Sullivan, since they expect this will lead to best practices and better returns on investment for their clients.

However, there are concerns about life cycle costing that come to the foreground when evaluating it — such as the fact that it’s used irregularly and infrequently in the design process when developing intelligent building plans and technologies, which leads to obvious incongruence further down the pipeline.

Aside from this, CABA and Frost & Sullivan also found that budgetary restrictions often hinder the adoption of the best suited technology or project, particularly when life cycle costing is not taken into consideration. But its benefits justify investing in intelligent building technology that will help ensure that the buildings last beyond the lifespan of the purchasers.

A whitepaper on high-performance buildings published earlier this month says that high-performance buildings are about more than just energy efficiency. Legrand’s whitepaper The Drive for High Performance Buildings finds that performance buildings are driven by several factors including security, information technology, environmental and regulatory forces, and changes in building design and management.

The white paper says buildings have evolved over decades, but there’s now a “paradigm shift” in expectations in the built environment impacting the building sector, from corporate offices to hospitals, retail and universities.

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