The Inherent Building Energy-Cost Relationship: An Analysis of Thirty Melbourne Case Studies

Yu Lay Langston
Craig Langston


This study investigates the energy and cost performance of thirtyrecent buildings in Melbourne, Australia. Commonly, buildingdesign decisions are based on issues pertaining to constructioncost, and consideration of energy performance is made onlywithin the context of the initial project budget. Even where energyis elevated to more importance, operating energy is seen asthe focus and embodied energy is nearly always ignored. Forthe fi rst time, a large sample of buildings has been assembledand analysed to improve the understanding of both energy andcost performance over their full life cycle. The aim of this paperis to determine the relationship between energy and cost usingregression analysis for a range of building functional types.The conclusion is that energy and cost are strongly correlated,independent of building area, and equations are presented forfuture modelling of energy using cost as the independent variable.

Full Text:



Arnold F. (1993) 'Life cycle doesn't work', The Environmental Forum, September/October, 19-23.

ASEC (2001) Australia 2001: State of the environment, Independent Report to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Australian State of the Environment Committee.

Ashworth A. (1988) 'Making life cycle costing work', Chartered Quantity Surveyor, April, 17-18.

Beggs C. (2002) Energy: Management, supply and conservation, Butterworth-Heinemann.

Brown R.J. and Yanuck R.R. (1985) Introduction to life lycle costing, Prentice Hall.

Bull J.W. (ed.) (1992) Life cycle costing for construction, Spon Press.

Costanza R. (1980) 'Embodied energy and economic valuation', Science, 210, 12 December, 1219-1224.

Costanza R. (1984) 'Embodied energy and economic value in the United States economy: 1963, 1967 and 1972', Resources and Energy, 6, 129-163.

Crawford R.H. (2004) 'Using input-output data in life cycle inventory analysis', Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

Dell'Isola A.J. and Kirk S.J. (1995) Life cycle cost data, McGraw-Hill.

Ding G. (2004) 'The development of a multi-criteria approach for the measurement of sustainable performance for built projects and facilities', Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

Evans R., Haste N., Jones A. and Haryott R. (1998) The long term costs of owning and using buildings, London: Royal Academy of Engineering.

Feagin J., Orum A. and Sjoberg G. eds. (1991) A case for case study, University of North Carolina Press.

Flanagan R. and Norman G. (1983) Life cycle costing for construction, Surveyors Publications.

Fuller R. (1982), 'Life cycle costing: A comprehensive approach', in Building cost techniques: New directions, P.S. Brandon ed., E. & F.N. Spon, 439-446.

Irurah D.K. and Holm D. (1999) 'Energy impacts of building construction as applied to South Africa', Construction Management and Economics, 17, 363-374.

Kirk S.J. and Dell'Isola A.J. (1995) Life cycle costing for design professionals, McGraw-Hill.

Langston C.A. (1991) The measurement of life-costs, Sydney: Public Works Department of New South Wales.

Langston C.A. (2005) Life-cost approach to building evaluation, Elsevier.

Langston Y.L. (2006) 'Embodied energy modelling of individual buildings in Melbourne: The inherent energy-cost relationship', Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

Langston Y.L and Langston C.A. (2007) 'Building energy and cost performance: An analysis of thirty Melbourne case studies', Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, 7(1), 1-18.

Langston Y.L. and Langston, C.A. (2008) 'Reliability of building embodied energy modelling: An analysis of thirty Melbourne case studies', Construction Management and Economics, 26(2), 147-160.

Langston C.A. and Lauge-Kristensen R. (2002) Strategic management of built facilities, Butterworth-Heinemann.

Lavine M.J. and Butler T.J. (1982) Use of embodied energy values to price environmental factors: Examining the embodied energy/dollar relationship, report no.NSF/PRA-82046, Ithaca, New York.

Oka T., Suzuki M. and Konnya T. (1993) 'The estimation of energy consumption and amount pollutants due to the construction of buildings', Energy and Buildings, 19, 303-311.

PCA (2001) Energy guidelines, Brisbane: Property Council of Australia.

Robertson G. (1991) 'Energy ef?cient commercial buildings: A realistic market objective', Architectural Science Review, 34, 139-142.

Stone P.A. (1960) 'The economics of building design', Journal of the Royal Society, 123(3), 237-273.

Tellis W (1997) 'Application of a case study', The Qualitative Report, 3(3), available at tellis2.html.

Treloar G.J. (1998) 'A comprehensive embodied energy analysis framework', Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

Treloar G.J., Gupta H., Love P.E.D. and Nguyen B. (2003) 'An analysis of factors in?uencing waste minimisation and use of recycled materials for the construction of residential buildings', Management of Environmental Quality, 14(1), 134-145.

Treloar G.J., Ilozor B.D. and Crawford R.H. (2002) 'Modelling energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with commercial building construction', in proceedings of 36th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA): The modern practice of architectural ccience from pedagogy to andragogy?, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, November, 533-540.

van Pelt M.J.F., Kuyvenhoven A. and Nijkamp P. (1990) 'Project appraisal and sustainability: Methodological challenges', Project Appraisal, 5, 139-158.

Verbeek I. and Wibberley L. (1996) 'Data collection', in proceedings of 1st National Conference on LCA, 29 September-1 March.