A Primer for Benefit and Cost Assessments

  • Stephen A. Roosa
Keywords: Cost Assessments, Benefit


While economic concerns are not the only issue important in the decision-making process, analysis of the benefits and costs of a program or project is often a fundamental criterion in program selection. In this article, issues concerning the practical application of benefit-cost analysis will be discussed and the value of the concept relative to policy analysis will be considered.* It provides a primer of the techniques available for benefit-cost analysis often used for program or project assessments and evaluation.

In highly competitive business environments, competition for funds among various interests and programs is often an important factor in selecting which programs to support and implement. Benefits and costs can be either qualitative or quantitative. When funds are limited many organizations use benefit cost assessments to set priorities and simplify decision-making. Benefit-cost analysis techniques are used to assess the financial aspects of programs or projects developed for the public, non-profit and private sectors. They are used to evaluate a program or project during the planning stages, prior to implementation, or while a program is underway. Benefit-cost analysis techniques are also used to evaluate individual projects within a program or to perform an evaluation after a program is completed. This article offers a review of the benefit-cost techniques available for program evaluation.


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Author Biography

Stephen A. Roosa

Stephen A. Roosa is the president of RPM Asset Management, located in Louisville, Kentucky. His past experience includes energy savings assessments for over 4,000 buildings. His 35-year work history includes energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy projects. He is considered an expert is sustainable energy solutions, leads corporate workshops, and teaches seminars throughout the world in sustainable development and renewable energy.

Dr. Roosa is the director of sustainable state and local programs for the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and a past president. He is recognized as an inductee into the Energy Managers Hall of Fame, a Legend in Energy and an AEE Fellow. He is widely published and is the coauthor of Carbon Reduction—Policies, Strategies and Technologies. He is a LEED-AP, a Certified Sustainable Development Professional, a Certified Energy Manager, a Business Energy Professional, a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional and a Renewable Energy Professional. He holds a Doctorate in Planning and Urban Development, an MBA in Business Management and a Bachelor of Architecture degree.


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