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Life Choices

Life Choices

The concept of life-cycle costing is getting increased attention from education institutions — and rightly so.

The concept of life-cycle costing is getting increased attention from education institutions — and rightly so.

Considering that many schools are still living with the “built fast, built cheap” facilities of the original baby-boom era — as well as the billions of dollars in deferred maintenance and poor learning environments that continue to plague these facilities today as a result of past ill-conceived choices — looking beyond the initial price tag to how much a facility will cost over its entire life is proving to be smart, responsible and financially sensible.

Life-cycle costing forces institutions to evaluate the entire cost of a facility, not just first-cost. Because costs associated with a facility do not stop when construction is complete, the costs to operate, maintain and dispose of a facility over its useful life must be considered. By making educated decisions and investing a little more at the early stages during planning, an institution can realize significant savings over the life of a building.

The concepts central to the green/sustainability movement dovetail nicely into life-cycle costing. Education institutions that strive to create and operate high-performance, environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, healthful facilities are finding that their choices are resulting not only in exceptional learning environments, but also long-lasting facilities that will use fewer resources and result in measurable long-term savings.

In this month's issue, we focus extensively on life-cycle costing and green/sustainability. The cover story, delves into how education institutions can incorporate life-cycle costing into facilities and operations decisions; the Green Schools & Universities special section, includes articles on crafting a campus sustainability program and creating an electronics recycling program as part of your institution's sustainability commitment.

It's true that “you get what you pay for.” By incorporating life-cycle costing into your facilities decisions, you will ensure the choices made early in the process will result in the best investment for the long-term.

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