Holistic life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of green buildings: A China case study

Xiaojuan LI, Mingchao LIN, Wanjun XIE, Chi Yung JIM, Jiyu LAI, Liping CHENG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Green buildings, compared with conventional ones, can mitigate the rapid growth of China’s carbon emissions. They offer many advantages, such as saving resources and reducing negative environmental impacts. However, few studies have assessed their incremental costs and social benefits. This study comprehensively analyzed the incremental costs and benefits of green buildings in China through the life cycle stages of preparation, design, construction, and operation-management. The Analytic Hierarchy Process and Matter Element Analysis were jointly applied to establish a comprehensive green-building cost-benefit evaluation system. Based on expert judgment, an embracive two-level index scheme and a three-step grading strategy were developed. A residential case study tested the applicability of the model. It yielded the largest share of incremental cost in the construction phase at 90.5%. The economic benefits accounted for the largest proportion of incremental benefits at 72.22%, meeting the green building criteria and achieving the highest 3-star rating. The study has developed a full life-cycle costing methodology for green building design and quantified the benefits at each stage. The findings offer the theoretical and practical basis to refine the assessment of green building projects and improve green building performance to meet sustainable development goals. Copyright © 2023 Korean Society of Civil Engineers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4602-4621
JournalKSCE Journal of Civil Engineering
Early online dateSept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


Li, X., Lin, M., Xie, W., Jim, C. Y., Lai, J., & Cheng, L. (2023). Holistic life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of green buildings: A China case study. KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering, 27, 4602-4621. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12205-023-0431-3


  • Green building performance
  • Analytic hierarchy process (AHP)
  • Matter element analysis (MEA)
  • Incremental cost and benefit
  • Life cycle cost (LCC)
  • Green-building cost-benefit evaluation system (GCES)


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