A new database from ASHRAE provides engineers with equipment service life and annual maintenance costs for a variety of building types and HVAC systems.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers says many engineers are asked to advise building owners and managers on strategic decisions involving the life-cycle of buildings. In the past, lack of valid data has left engineers without a solid basis for making recommendations.

ASHRAE believes that this new free online database will help to alleviate the problem. The database can be accessed at www.ashrae.org/database. 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 updated information to determine a range of statistical values for equipment owning and operating costs. With this, ASHRAE says 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 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 database’s usefulness.

Information from the database also is used to update the ASHRAE Handbook.