Carnegie Mellon University

Brownfield Vs. Greenfield Life Cycle Costs Comparison Tool

The WPBC has prepared an approach to estimate life cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions for residential brownfield and greenfield developments. The approach has been implemented in a spreadsheet estimation model that can be used to estimate the comparative life cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions of major elements of residential brownfield redevelopments.

The estimation model includes default values and ranges based on a sample of US residential brownfield and greenfield developments and other literature sources. Model users can enter information about their own developments and compare life cycles costs and emissions with the sample for individual characteristics.

Five major characteristics are included for the life cycle assessment of brownfields compared to greenfields, including brownfield remediation, residential building construction, infrastructure costs, residential building utilities and maintenance, and residential travel. Based upon the sample of brownfield and greenfield developments included, the brownfield developments tend to have lower overall impacts due to lower travels costs associated with infill development closer to city centers despite costs associated with remediation. More detailed results of the comparison can be found in the research, found below.

Click here to download the research paper in .pdf format (96kB) and here for the comparison tool in .xls format (271kB).