Optimizing the selection of sustainability measures to minimize life-cycle cost of existing buildings

Moatassem Abdallah, Khaled El-Rayes, Liang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Buildings have significant impacts on the environment and economy as they were reported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2009 to account for 40% of the global energy consumption. Building owners are increasingly seeking to integrate sustainability and green measures in their buildings to minimize energy and water consumption as well as life-cycle cost. Due to the large number of feasiblecombinations of sustainability measures, decision makers are often faced with a challenging task that requires them to identify an optimal set of upgrade measures to minimize the building life-cycle cost. This paper presents a model for optimizing the selection of building upgrade measures to minimize the life-cycle cost of existing buildings while complying with owner-specified requirements for building operational performance and budget constraints. The optimization model accounts for initial upgrade cost, operational cost and saving, escalation in utility costs, maintenance cost, replacement cost, and salvage value of building fixtures and equipment, and renewable energy systems. A case study of a rest area building in the state of Illinois in the United States was analyzed to illustrate the unique capabilities of the developed optimization model. The main findings of this analysis illustrate the capabilities of the model in identifying optimal building upgrade measures to achieve the highest savings of building life-cycle cost within a user-specified upgrade budget; and generating practical and detailed recommendations on replacing building fixtures and equipment and installing renewable energy systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian journal of civil engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 18 2015


  • Energy consumption
  • Existing buildings
  • Life-cycle cost
  • Optimization
  • Sustainability
  • Upgrade measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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