Research to develop an interactive Web-based database providing current information on maintenance costs and service life of typical HVAC components and systems has been approved for funding by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE 1237-TRP, Interactive Web-Based Owning and Operating Cost Database, is expected to take 12 months to complete at a cost of $95,000. The principal investigator is Barry Abramson, P.E., Servidyne Systems, LLC,

Atlanta, Ga.

The database will allow users to access up-to-date information to determine a range of statistical values for equipment owning and operating costs.

"One of the major weaknesses in our industry has been the inability of decision makers to distinguish between low price and best value in the selection of HVAC systems," said Jim Poulos, chair of a committee that is monitoring the project. "The consensus in the industry has been that the use of life-cycle evaluations provides the most effective method for determining the best value of HVAC system alternatives."

Researchers will collect and validate at least 150 data sets of HVAC equipment service life and maintenance cost data, develop a database, develop a Web interface for the database where users can also contribute their own data and tabulate the data for inclusion in the ASHRAE Handbook.