ATLANTA - A new, free, online database from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provides engineers with equipment service life and annual maintenance costs for a variety of building types and HVAC systems. It contains more than 300 building types and more than 38,000 pieces of equipment with service life data.

The database allows users to access up-to-date information to determine a range of statistical values for equipment owning and operating costs. With this, ASHRAE said it is providing the necessary methods and information to assist in using life-cycle analysis techniques to help select the most appropriate HVAC system for a specific application.

“Life-cycle evaluations provide the most effective method for determining the best value of HVAC system alternatives,” said Lynn Bellenger, chair of ASHRAE’s Technology Council.

“In order to facilitate the use of life-cycle analysis techniques by decision makers, the necessary data must be available, current, and correctly applied. This database provides that needed data.”

As part of the project, users are encouraged to contribute their own service life and maintenance cost data, further expanding the utility of this tool.

Over a period of time, this input will provide sufficient service life and maintenance cost data to allow the comparative analysis of many different HVAC system types in a broad variety of applications. Data can be entered by logging into the database and registering, which is free.

Information from the database also is used to update the ASHRAE Handbook. Chapter 36, Owning and Operating Costs, of the 2007 ASHRAE Handbook, HVAC Applications, contains median equipment service life data from the first 163 commercial buildings that were used to seed the database, with updates to come as the database grows.

The database is the result of ASHRAE research project 1237, Interactive Web-based Owning and Operating Cost Database, sponsored by ASHRAE’s technical committee 7.8, Owning and Operating Costs.

To access the database or for more information, visit

Publication date:01/07/2008