The LID Life-Cycle Costing Tool: How it Works, How to Use It, and How to Contribute to its Accuracy

Presentation Overview

The Low Impact Development  Life-Cycle Costing Tool (LID LCCT) evaluates the life-cycle costs for LID BMPs (bioretention, enhanced grass swales, vegetated filter strips, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, infiltration chamber, and infiltration trenches).

Model designs are used for each BMP. The user inputs basic information (drainage area, native soil infiltration rate, and drainage period) on which type of BMP they want (e.g. for bioretention, whether it is a full or partial infiltration model). The tool uses these inputs to generate life-cycle costs.

Initially released in 2013, the updated version of the LID LCCT tool includes wet and dry ponds to facilitate comparisons between LID and more traditional methods. Unit costs have been updated with RS Means data and through consultation with suppliers.

It is also now fully open for users to modify back-end calculations and tool assumptions (e.g., inflation and discount rates).

Accurately estimating the life-cycle costs of LID BMPs is the first step in conducting a cost-benefit analysis for potential LID projects. However, costing of LID BMPs can be a time-consuming and costly process. The LID LCCT helps users to streamline this process.

Initial sensitivity analyses show that the tool is reasonably accurate. The STEP team hopes to develop a costing database and to improve the tool by taking completed LID projects and inputting them into the tool.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn why accurate financial forecasting is critical for choosing between BMPs, choosing between LID and traditional dry and wet ponds, and conducting cost-benefit analyses.
  • Understand how the LID LCCT works: unit costs, model designs, pre-construction, construction, performance verification, maintenance, and rehabilitation.
  • Learn about the results of STEP’s initial sensitivity analyses and how users can adapt the tool for more accurate results.


Kyle Vander Linden and Kyle MenkenCredit Valley Conservation (CVC)
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