Webinar Series: Vander Linden – Menken


The STEP Life-Cycle Costing Tool: How it Works, How to Use It, and How to Contribute to its Accuracy


Kyle Vander Linden and Kyle Menken, Credit Valley Conservation


The STEP Life-Cycle Costing Tool (LCCT) evaluates the life-cycle costs for LID BMPs (bioretention, enhanced grass swales, vegetated filter strips, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, infiltration chamber, and infiltration trenches).

Model designs are used for each BMP. The user inputs basic information (drainage area, native soil infiltration rate, and drainage period) on which type of BMP they want (e.g. for bioretention, whether it is a full or partial infiltration model). The tool uses these inputs to generate life-cycle costs.

Initially released in 2013, the updated version of the STEP LCCT tool includes wet and dry ponds to facilitate comparisons between LID and more traditional methods. Unit costs have been updated with RS Means data and through consultation with suppliers.

It is also now fully open for users to modify back-end calculations and tool assumptions (e.g., inflation and discount rates).

Accurately estimating the life-cycle costs of LID BMPs is the first step in conducting a cost-benefit analysis for potential LID projects. However, costing of LID BMPs can be a time-consuming and costly process. The STEP LCCT helps users to streamline this process.

Initial sensitivity analyses show that the tool is reasonably accurate. The STEP team hopes to develop a costing database and to improve the tool by taking completed LID projects and inputting them into the tool.


Learning Objectives

1. Learn why accurate financial forecasting is critical for choosing between BMPs, choosing between LID and traditional dry and wet ponds, and conducting cost-benefit analyses.

2. Understand how the LCCT works: unit costs, model designs, pre-construction, construction, performance verification, maintenance, and rehabilitation.

3. Learn about the results of STEP’s initial sensitivity analyses and how users can adapt the tool for more accurate results.



Kyle Vander Linden

Kyle Vander Linden

Kyle Vander Linden is a Program Manager with the Integrated Water Management team at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC).

Based on lessons from the field over the last 11 years in LID implementation, he provides facilitation and guidance to municipalities on critical processes for LID/GI design, construction, assumption, operation and maintenance.

Kyle is a lead instructor for the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program’s (STEP) Low Impact Development (LID) training program and continues to focus on ways to improve the business case for LID.

Kyle Menken

Kyle Menken

Kyle Menken is a Technician with the Integrated Water Management team at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC).

Kyle’s educational background is in philosophy, classical studies, and public relations. His current focus is writing, editing and developing guidance documents, studies, and reports with the aim of improving the business case for low impact development implementation on private property.