Development of a Cost-Benefit-Tool: costs and benefits of energy efficient and ecologic buildings

Development of a cost-benefit-tool which reaches beyond a pure cost approach and also recognizes the benefits of a building for its inhabitants and users. The inclusion of benefits is based on existing evaluation systems, especially on the Austrian building evaluation system TQB - Total Quality Building, which has been revised in 2009.

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

The project aimed to develop an instrument that enables the systematic comparison of costs and benefits of buildings. The background for this approach is the assumption that decisions in building processes are mostly made on the basis of economic arguments. However, building qualities featured by energy efficient and ecological buildings also offer big advantages for occupants and users, but these advantages are excluded when single cost assessments are used.


For this reason the project aimed to find a method to combine the aspects of the costs and the benefits. As a result the developed cost-benefit-tool allows the comparison of costs and benefits on the level of different building qualities – expressed by means of assessment indicators – as well as on the level of complete building variants.

The compilation of benefits was based on existing building assessment systems, in particular on the Austrian building standard TQB – Total Quality Building, which was revised completely in 2009. Within the framework of the project a user survey including a “matrix of values” was developed to enable an individual assessment that allows for varying personal preferences in regard to quality of living conditions. The analysis of the benefits and the illustration of the benefit-criteria of TQB in the context of criteria-checklists contribute to enhancing acceptance, transparency and dissemination of building assessment. The aspects of the costs were compiled considering current codes and standards of cost assessment in the building sector and on the basis of real costs, which were derived from the analysis of real building examples. Hence different building qualities and construction methods (e.g. passive-house standard) have been considered, that affect different follow-up costs (costs over a certain period, like energy and maintenance costs).


Both, the cost and the benefit approach, were compiled in the framework of the cost-benefit-tool and an example to illustrate the method is given. By means of the combination of costs and benefits the basis for the economic assessment of sustainable buildings is provided.

The cost-benefit-tool and the criteria-checklist are available in german language.


Project Partners

Project management

  • ÖGUT – Österreichische Gesellschaft für Umwelt und Technik
    DI Susanne Supper

Project or cooperation partners

Contact Address

DI Susanne Supper
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Umwelt und Technik (ÖGUT)
Hollandstraße 10/46, 1020 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 315 63 93 - 32
Fax: +43 (1) 315 63 93 - 22