The life cycle costing (LCC) approach: a conceptual discussion of its usefulness for environmental decision-making
Journal article, 2004

Ten LCC-oriented environmental accounting tools suggested as useful in environmental decision-making have been identified. However, their implementation in the building industry seems to be limited, which opens up for a conceptual discussion. The purpose of this article is to discuss theoretical assumptions and the practical usefulness of the LCC approach in making environmentally responsible investment decisions. LCC’s monetary unit and extended scope may speak in favour of using LCC but LCC fails to handle irreversible decisions, neglects items that have no owner and does not consider costs to future generations. Moreover, LCC does not take into account the decision makers’ limited ability to make rational decisions under uncertainty. LCC’s practical usefulness is constrained by its oversimplification to a monetary unit, the lack of reliable data, complexity of the building process, and conceptual confusions. To handle these inconsistencies in future development of environmental decision support tools three research solutions are proposed.

environmental management


Life cycle costing



investment decisions

decision support tools


Pernilla Gluch

Chalmers, COMESA, Building Economics and Management

Henrikke Baumann

Chalmers, COMESA, Environmental Systems Analysis

Building and Environment

Vol. 39 571-580

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Civil Engineering

Other Environmental Engineering

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


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