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Comparison of lifecycle costs for various building insulation measures.
© Hottgenroth Software GmbH
Building simulation
23.01.2018

Software assesses lifecycle costs

Building projects often specify components that are the cheapest to buy – which in the long run is not always the most cost-effective and efficient solution. Together with Dresden scientists, software provider Hottgenroth has developed a program module that helps to determine and optimise the lifecycle costs of components and system technology. It is now available as a module integrated into existing energy consulting and planning software.

Especially in the early planning stages of refurbishment or new-build schemes, many decisions are made which clearly affect the energy consumption and other usage costs. Here lifecycle costing (LCC) helps planners and builders find an economic balance between the investment and utility costs. This also makes energy efficient and sustainable solutions competitive.

Traditional economic efficiency calculations often use highly simplified and static methods. These usually weight the investment costs relatively high relative to the ongoing operational costs. Energy- and cost-minimised solutions for the entire lifecycle require complex simulation calculations and variant studies, which only specialists can carry out. This is too costly for ordinary building projects.

In conjunction with TU Dresden and the ITG Dresden Institute for Building Systems Engineering Research and Application, Hottgenroth Software GmbH has developed software modules for optimising the lifecycle costs of buildings and system technology at different levels of complexity as part of a research project. The modules have been integrated into several of the company's marketable software products.

The software solution in detail

In the "Building Simulation 3D PLUS" software program, the LCCA module enables initial calculations for lifecycle cost analyses and optimisation. Here not much more data needs to be entered than with normal building energy consulting.

A building can be visualised or captured in graphic or tabular form, and the energy demand can be simulated using standard or manually entered components and global climate data. Various systems for heating the building as well as variants for building materials and components can be defined, analysed and compared. For components, maximum and minimum U-values can also be entered so that the conditions defined by the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) are met. The software then automatically calculates the resulting lifecycle costs by including heating costs for various U-values in that range, and finds the U-value with the lowest lifecycle costs. Cost functions for individual devices or components enable a vendor-neutral cost estimate. Optionally, individual prices can also be entered. The software can be implemented using the BIM methodology. In future it is planned to develop the software program further, for example in order to additionally weight disposal costs and the impact of CO2 emissions.

A similar module for the lifecycle cost optimisation of air conditioning components is included in the Klima-Check software program, which supports installers, technicians and engineers in checking the energy efficiency of ventilation and cooling systems.

(dg)

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Addresses

LCCA monitoring, creation of reference values
TU Dresden, IET

Creation of mathematical models
ITG Dresden

Links

Software analyses lifecycle costs
Project presentation from the ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN website

ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN
Projects, reports, news and analysis from the research initiative ENERGIEWENDEBAUEN