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Circular Economy Life Cycle Costing (CE-LCC) 

The Circular Economy Life Cycle Cost (CE-LCC) model is an economic assessment model for the building sector. It is based on current Life Cycle Cost analysis, which calculates the total cost of a product from cradle to grave (such as sales price, use price, and disposal costs) to support decision-making processes during the development of products.  


The CE-LCC includes properties of circular economy products, such as different lifespan of parts and components, design for repair, or disassembly. This means that costs for components of a building, such as a façade made out of different materials, can be calculated with different and multiple use cycles. A use cycle usually corresponds to the timespan in which the object meets the functional demands of the user. A multiple use cycle allows to reuse/recycle the component after its end of use [1]. In addition, the methods include processes taking place after the end of use phase, such as recycling or dismantling.  


The CE-LCC model helps to evaluate the different options for components of ‘circular’ buildings, for instance, 1) the structure is made from reclaimed materials, 2) the structure is made from modules that can be changed, updated or reused, and 3) the structure is made from bio-based and biodegradable material. The CE-LCC model helps decision-makers to choose a suitable ‘circular’ option for their building [4]. 


In CE-LCC, the product or material life is considered as a loop. Environmental performance often improves the most by combining circular design options to narrow, slow, and close cycles simultaneously, instead of focusing on one [3]. Narrowing loops means to reduce resource use or to increase resource efficiency. Slowing loops means to lengthen the use of a building, component, part, or material. Closing loops is to (re)cycle materials from end-of-life back to production. 


The components, whose service life is short, benefit more from slow and close cycles. In addition, the components with longer service life benefit more from reducing resources and slowing loops [3].  

Examples of CE-LCC tool, the overall structure of use cycles of a part in the model [1] 



Currently there are no off-the-shelf solutions for CE-LCC. However, there are many good examples of pilot cases: 


  • The Circular Kitchen CIK tested a circular life cycle cost (CE-LCC) model. The foundation of the model was the existing LCC methods, but the model was adapted to meet the circular economy requirements. This means the model takes into account multiple use cycles and includes the processes at the end of the use. The aim was to give new information for decision-making for different stakeholders [1]. 

  • Circularis developed guidelines for companies to help them measure the life cycle cost in circular economy. The project uses three case companies for piloting the guidelines.  

  • In REHAB, wall structures were studied with life cycle assessment and material flow analysis in circular economy.  


The model would benefit from further research and application [1]. 

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Circular economyWasteAnalytics and modellingBuildingMaterials
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