A comprehensive case study on life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) was conducted on a two- story education building with a projected 40-year lifespan in College Park, Maryland. The aim of this paper was to (1) create a life cycle assessment model, using an education building to test the model, (2) compare the life cycle cost (LCC) of different renovation scenarios, taking into account added renewable energy resources to achieve the university’s overall carbon neutrality goal, and (3) verify the robustness of the LCC model by conducting sensitivity analysis and studying the influence of different variables. Nine renovation scenarios were constructed by combining six renovation techniques and three renewable energy resources. The LCCA results were then compared to understand the cost-effective relation between implementing energy reduction techniques and renewable energy sources. The results indicated that investing in energy-efficient retrofitting techniques was more cost-effective than investments in renewable energy sources in the long term. In the optimum scenario, renovation and renewable energy, when combined, produced close to a 90% reduction in the life cycle cost compared to the baseline. The payback period for the initial investment cost, including avoided electricity costs, varies from 1.4 to 4.1 years. This suggests that the initial investment in energy-efficient renovation is the primary factor in the LCC of an existing building.
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