Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
GreenScapes has developed downloadable on-line calculators that allow you to compare costs between environmentally preferable methods and using virgin materials. The calculators demonstrate that these activities are often cost competitive and provide numerous environmental benefits. They can aid in your decision making and implementation of more sustainable landscape design, construction, and operations and maintenance.
Note: You will need to open the Excel files to use the calculators. You may need to enable macros for some calculators to work properly.
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPAs PDF page to learn more.
Recycling and Reusing Landscape Waste Cost Calculator
The Excel Recycling and Reusing Landscape Waste Cost Calculator (1.1MB) | Recycling and Reusing Landscape Waste Cost Calculator Example (PDF) (13 pp, 378K) estimates the cost and environmental benefits of four scenarios for handling hardscape and landscape wastes (concrete and asphalt, brick, lumber, and yard waste):
- Reusing all waste possible on-site, then recycling all waste possible that cannot be reused, and then disposing of waste remaining;
- Reusing all waste possible and disposing of waste remaining;
- Recycling all waste possible and disposing of waste remaining; and
- Disposing of all waste materials.
To use the calculator, you will need to fill out a short questionnaire about your landscaping material and waste disposal needs. The calculator will return the one, three, six, and ten year costs associated with each of the four disposition methods. In addition, you have the option of inputting your own cost information if you have it. The calculator demonstrates that recycling and reusing landscape waste can offer significant savings compared to disposal, depending on a facilitys material needs and proximity to recycling facilities. The calculator also estimates the environmental impacts avoided by reusing and recycling landscape materials instead of landfilling them as waste.
Resource Conserving Landscaping Cost Calculator
The Excel Resource Conserving Landscaping Cost Calculator (593K) | Resource Conserving Landscaping Cost Calculator Example (PDF) (8 pp, 507K) compares the cost of converting conventional landscapes to landscapes that require less irrigation and produce less waste by replacing trees, turf, shrubs, and flowers that require more irrigation and grow faster with varieties that require less irrigation and grow slower. To use the calculator, you will need to fill out a short questionnaire about your current landscape and the planned retrofit. The calculator will return all the initial and annual costs associated with both the current landscape and the planned retrofit. In addition, you have the option of inputting your own cost information if you have it. The calculator demonstrates that converting to a water saving landscape is often cost competitive due to savings on water bills and landscaping maintenance, and provides many environmental benefits.
Erosion Control Calculator
The Excel Erosion Control Calculator (453K) | Erosion Control Calculator Example (PDF) (7 pp, 363K) is designed to help landscaping and construction companies estimate the cost of using environmentally beneficial compost filter berms or compost filter socks for erosion control, rather than conventional silt fences. The Cost Calculator demonstrates that environmentally preferable erosion control methods are very cost competitive for all project sizes and durations, and that they offer significant savings for projects that run for more than a few months.
Decking Cost Calculator
The Excel Decking Cost Calculator (458K) | Decking Cost Calculator Example (PDF) (6 pp, 323K) compares the cost of building a new deck with environmentally preferable recycled plastic and recycled wood/plastic composite lumber with the cost of building a conventional virgin wood deck. Simply enter the square footage of the deck your are planning to build and the calculator will display high and low estimates for all of the initial, annual and ife span costs of the four most common decking materials. In addition, you have the option of inputting your own cost information if you have it. The calculator demonstrates that environmentally preferable decking options are very cost competitive for all project sizes.
Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation Cost Calculator
The Excel Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation Cost Calculator (1.2MB) | Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation Cost Calculator Example (PDF) (7 pp, 110K) compares the cost of landscaping irrigation with a water-saving sub-surface drip irrigation system to the cost of irrigation with a conventional sprinkler system. To use the calculator, simply answer a few questions about your local climate, the irrigation area, and your water bill. The calculator will display estimates of high and low costs for sub-surface drip and conventional sprinkler irrigation, facilitating a comparison of initial, annual, and life span costs. In addition, you have the option of inputting your own cost information if you have it. The calculator demonstrates that environmentally preferable sub-surface drip irrigation methods are very cost competitive compared with conventional sprinkler methods.
Pallets Cost Calculator
The Excel Pallets Cost Calculator (447K) | Pallets Cost Calculator Example (PDF) (6 pp, 313K) compares the cost of using environmentally preferable pallets made from recycled wood and recycled plastic with the cost of using conventional pallets manufactured from virgin wood. Simply enter the number of the pallets in your fleet and the trips per pallet per year. The calculator will return all of the relevant costs associated with pallet use over time. In addition, you have the option of inputting your own cost information if you have it. The calculator demonstrates that recycled pallets are extremely cost competitive over time due to savings in replacement and disposal, and provide many environmental benefits.
Ecological Restoration Tool
The Ecological Restoration Tool provides information and guidance on ecological restoration and land revitalization. It includes:
- Glossary of restoration terms;
- Set of principles for ecological restoration;
- Information and links to resources on soil health and amendments, native and invasive plant species, and ecosystem-based restoration;
- Comprehensive list of region-by-region and state-by-state federal and local resources for ecological restoration projects, including the Federal Highway Administrations publication, Roadside Use of Native Plants.
WaterSense Landscape Water Budget Tool
EPA has developed a tool to guide builders, landscape professionals, and irrigation specialists through the water budget calculations of the draft specification for water-efficient single-family new homes. The landscape water budget tool will help determine:
- The amount of water the designed landscape is allowed (budgeted) based on EPA criteria;
- How much water the designed landscape requires based on climate, plant type, and irrigation system efficiency; and
- Whether the designed landscape meets the budgeted amount.
Climate Change Tools
EPA has developed tools to help individuals and organizations determine the greenhouse gas impacts of their purchasing, manufacturing and waste management actions.