Lifespan Analysis

Lifespan analysis is a way to compare multiple products’ relative duration. Life-span analysis can help you make a decision between two products that seem comparably priced, or to measure whether spending a little more now will resulting in savings later.

The following explanation is modeled after New York City’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Manual. Elements included in lifespan analysis are initial costs, training costs, operating and maintenance costs and disposal costs. Initial costs are the expenditures to acquire and establish use of a product, including the purchase price, the cost of shipping, and the installation cost.  Training costs may include materials and labor to educate current and future employees on how to use the product or material properly. Operating and maintenance costs refer to the annual expenditures for parts, labor, and supplies for routine operations, as well as for preventive maintenance and repairs over the life of the product or equipment. O&M also includes the costs of gas, electricity, and water to operate equipment. Disposal costs cover the handling of discarded operating and maintenance supplies, as well as associated packaging wastes during the functional life of the product. This expense also includes the costs associated with the final disposal of the product or equipment when it is no longer operational or needed.

Example of Life-Span Analysis for Air Filters:

The staff of a local government facility purchased, used, and discarded 100 single-use filters per month from the facility’s air circulation system. They sought a more durable, environmentally preferable substitute, and used life-span analysis to guide their purchasing decision. They compared the annual costs for 1) single-use filters, 2) disposable filter medium in reusable steel frames, and 3) completely reusable aluminum filters. As you can see, the Reusable Filters end up having the most cost savings over a period of two years.


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