Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Stormwater Management Methods

Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Stormwater Management Methods

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Executive Summary

Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) is a method used to assess the total cost of ownership for a project, or elements of a project.

Increased development is creating greater impervious areas in the built environment, causing stormwater runoff volumes to rise and add to the workload of municipal waste water treatment plants. Treating, pumping and distributing water uses a large amount of energy, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon footprints. The landscape horticulture industry is in a unique position to provide alternative solutions to traditional stormwater management techniques by reducing the runoff at the source and therefore reducing the environmental impacts of stormwater treatment.

This paper applies the Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) method to five scenarios to determine their economic performance compared to traditional strategies. In almost every case these sustainable, low impact designs were cost effective over the life of the project compared to traditional “pave and convey-away” methods while also providing additional environmental and social benefits. Average annual maintenance costs were consistently lower than the traditional techniques, which often required significant material removal as part of their rehabilitation unlike the more durable natural designs.

It is clear that on-site stormwater management methods are viable strategies that add to the sustainability of our built environment. The planning and expertise from a variety of professions working together are essential to achieve success with these stormwater management methods - each site has its own characteristics that can be developed into cost effective and sustainable landscape solutions.