The gold standard of life cycle cost software for construction management is the Building Life-Cycle Cost Program (BLCC 5.3-09), which was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Along with NIST’s companion Energy Escalation Rate Calculator (EERC 1.0-09b) software, the BLCC program provides the computational support needed to analyze capital investments in buildings.
The EERC 1.0-09b program calculates an escalation rate for contract payments for financed projects when payments are based on projected annual energy cost savings.
LCC Software Supporting Documents
Supporting the BLCC and EERC life cycle cost software programs are two NIST documents and one from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB):
NIST Handbook 135 (PDF 9.7 MB), the Life-Cycle Costing Manual for the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), explains in detail the principles of life-cycle cost analysis and integrates them with the FEMP criteria.
NIST Annual Supplement to Handbook 135 (PDF 344 KB), Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis, contains tables of present-value factors calculated with the same discount rates and energy price projections as are used in the computer programs.
OMB Circular No. A-94, Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs, provides general guidance for conducting benefit-cost and cost-effectiveness analyses.
The OMB Circular A-94 also provides specific guidance on the discount rates to be used in evaluating Federal programs whose benefits and costs are distributed over time.
NIST developed the life cycle cost software and supporting documentation for use by designers on US federal building projects.
Nevertheless, designers of any building project can use these free resources along with the UNIFORMAT II standard to make best-value decisions, thus improving building investment performance.
BLCC Life Cycle Cost Software Features
BLCC5 is programmed in Java with an XML file format. The user’s guide is part of the BLCC5 Help system. BLCC version 5.3-09 contains the following six modules:
FEMP Analysis Energy and Water. Energy Project for energy and water conservation and renewable energy projects under the FEMP rules based on 10 CFR 436;
Federal Analysis ESPC/UESC. Financed Project for federal projects financed through Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) or Utility Energy Services Contracts (UESC) as authorized by Executive Order 13123 (6/99)
OMB Analysis Federal Construction. Projects subject to OMB Circular A-94 for non-energy, federal government construction projects, but not water resource projects;
MILCON Analysis Energy Project. Energy Project for energy and water conservation and renewable energy projects in military construction;
MILCON Analysis ECIP Project. ECIP Project for energy and water conservation projects under the Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP); and
MILCON Analysis Non-Energy Project. Non-Energy Project for military construction designs that are not primarily intended for energy or water conservation.
BLCC 5.3 conducts economic analyses by evaluating the relative cost effectiveness of alternative buildings and building-related systems or components.
Typically, BLCC is used to evaluate alternative designs that have higher initial costs but lower operating-related costs over the project life than the lowest-initial-cost design.
It is especially useful for evaluating the costs and benefits of energy and water conservation and renewable energy projects.
The program computes and compares the life-cycle costs of two or more alternative designs to determine which has the lowest LCC and is therefore more economical in the long run.
BLCC also calculates comparative economic measures for alternative designs, including Net Savings, Savings-to-Investment Ratio, Adjusted Internal Rate of Return, and Years to Payback.
The software can evaluate federal, state, and local government projects for both new and existing buildings.
While BLCC is oriented toward building-related decisions, one can use it to evaluate alternative designs for almost any project type in which higher capital investment costs result in lower future operating-related costs.
Energy Escalation Rate Calculator (EERC)
The Energy Escalation Rate Calculator (EERC) program computes an average annual escalation rate for fuel prices from the annual energy price forecasts of the DOE Energy Information Administration.
This rate can be used to escalate contract payments in Energy Savings Performance Contracts and Utility Energy Services Contracts when the payments are based on projected annual energy cost savings.
The calculator prompts the user for information on project location, fuel usage, industry sector, and the beginning and end dates of the performance period.
It then calculates the average rate of fuel price escalation over the duration of the performance period, weighted by the proportions of fuel types used in the project.
The annually updated discount factors used in life-cycle cost analysis (and embedded in the software) are also available as printed tables in the NIST Annual Supplement to Handbook 135 (PDF 344 KB).
The factors are calculated with the latest FEMP discount factors and energy price escalation rates for U.S. Census regions, rate types and fuel types.
BLCC And EERC Download Instructions
The BLCC and EERC programs were designed to operate on PCs only. They are both available free of charge.