The City of Phoenix Green Infrastructure Cost-Benefit Study is now available online. You can access the report here. Given the importance of heat stress in Phoenix, instead of using historical temperatures Autocase incorporated future climate change in to its analysis. “More than 155 people died from heat-related causes in the Phoenix area last year, a new record in a place where the […]

For the first time in 30 years at the end of June, AIA’s annual Conference on Architecture was held in New York City. A team from Autocase was there learning about the sustainability and resiliency needs for architects and their clients. In between all the networking and educational sessions, we were joined by leaders from HOK, Foster + Partners, New York […]

Before we created the Autocase family of TBL-CBA software, our team of economists, along with engineers and architects conducted numerous custom assessments as consultants. Our collective knowledge is now reflected in Autocase, but, we have to admit, there were some moments along the way when we were caught off-guard and ran into some tricky traps: practices, policies and thinking that […]

Number 10 in our TBL-CBA traps series (and the last one). 10. Mixing Nominal and Real All the costs, benefits and discount rate should be either in nominal (current year) dollars or real (constant) dollars. Don’t mix real dollars and nominal discount rates or vice versa. Most economists recommend being real and staying real (man). That said, the preference for […]

Number 9 in our TBL-CBA traps series. 9.      Ignoring the Vast Collection of Ecosystem Services Research A lot of smart people have spent a lot of time over the last two decades putting values on ecosystem goods and services (e.g. clean air, fresh water, habitat protection). There has been an explosion of research and growing consensus and convergence in these […]

Number 8 in our TBL-CBA traps series. 8.      Muddying the Waters between Impacts and Benefits Impact analysis captures the overall output and income resulting from a project i.e. “400 local jobs created” or “an increase of $3M in GDP”. But this is not cost-benefit analysis. Impact analysis is often a marketing exercise intended to curry favor with those whose stamp […]

Number 7 in our TBL-CBA traps series. 7.      Tolerating False Precision The results are in – the Net Present Value is $101.234567 million (exactly) – let’s go! But wait…what if the risk associated with that number is +/- $200 million? How do you feel now? Is the project still a go? Robust TBL-CBA methodologies employ risk analysis so that all […]

Number 6 in our TBL-CBA traps series. 6.       Assuming it is Difficult and Expensive With standardized inputs, methodology and outputs, cost-effective automation of TBL-CBA is possible. While there will be people who will feel better paying $50,000-250,000 for a bespoke TBL-CBA study, don’t let anyone talk you into a custom study until they have told you what they will be […]

Number 5 in our TBL-CBA traps series. 5.      Asking “Are We Doing the Right Project?” but Forgetting “Are We Doing the Project Right?” Once the project has been greenlighted, a million and one design decisions remain to be made by engineers, architects, sustainability professionals, planners, project manager, and designers that determine what exactly gets built and how. TBL-CBA should be […]

Number 4 in our TBL-CBA traps series.  4.      Letting the Loudest Voice Win While the TBL-CBA analysis often points out trade-offs between people, planet and profits and highlights distributional effects across affected stakeholder groups, don’t fall into the trap of implicitly weighting one group or sector more than another.  Cost-benefit analysis does the weighting for you. For example, a quantity […]