TD News, Number 1, 2009 - Internet Web Site: '' Send an e-mail request for username and password to: ''

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How Much Does That Facility Really Cost?

Determining the cost of replacing or constructing a facility can be a complicated task. The report, "Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Buildings Is Easier Than You Thought" (0873-2839-MTDC) explains how to complete a life-cycle cost analysis of a structure, product, or component over its expected useful life. Life-cycle cost analysis is a method for determining the total cost of a facility by adding the cost of operating, maintaining, and using the facility to the purchase price or construction costs. This report offers a simplified formula for making small decisions and discusses free and commercial life-cycle cost analysis software for making large decisions. Also included is a brief discussion of life-cycle assessments, which calculate a product or service's environmental costs throughout its lifetime.

Photo of a Forest Service facility.

For additional information on life-cycle cost analysis of facilities, contact Kathleen Snodgrass, project leader (phone: 406-329-3922, email:

Taking the Lead on LEED

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to encourage the adoption of sustainable building and development practices based on accepted performance criteria. LEED certification has been mandatory for some new Forest Service buildings since 2005. The report "Implementing LEED: Strategies That Work for the Forest Service" (0973-2802-MTDC) explains how the LEED process works and provides information that can be used by architects, facilities engineers, contracting officers, and line officers to ensure that their LEED projects meet their needs and are cost effective.

This report received the Carl V. Anderson Conservation Project 2009 Award of Honor from the Association of Conservation Engineers.

For additional information on LEED, contact Kathleen Snodgrass, project leader (phone: 406-329-3922, email:

Photo of a facility being built during winter.

Checking for Lead-Based Paint Before Restoration

Exposure to lead-based paint that is chipping or flaking can pose a serious health risk. While lead-based paint has not been used in recent years, it may still be found beneath layers of paint that do not contain lead. When undertaking any maintenance or restoration project that will disturb a painted surface, first test for lead-based paint.

Photo of an old bridge and two separate electronic devices used to detect lead-based paint.

The tech tip "Using XRF Hand-Held Devices to Detect Lead-Based Paint" (0873-2310-MTDC) describes MTDC's evaluation of two XRF (x-ray fluorescence) hand-held devices: one based on radioactive isotopes and the other based on x-ray tubes. Basic principles of operation are discussed as are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of device. Both XRF devices discussed in this tech tip also may be used to detect lead in soil and can be programmed to detect highly toxic elements such as arsenic, copper, and mercury.

For additional information on detecting lead-based paint with XRF hand-held devices, contact Bob Beckley, project leader (phone: 406-329-3996, email:

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