Sustainable Acquisition

Example of a Decision Making Matrix/Life Cycle Cost Analysis

Attributes You Seek
Product A
Product B
Product C
Renewable feedstock Made from finite commodity--oil Made from readily renewable resource--corn, soy Made from postconsumer material
Resource conservative - Made locally, conserving transportation Because of reused content, 30% less water and energy in manufacturing process
Robust (healthy)
Potentially hazardous properties--ethylene glycol 1.79% 0.001% 1.12%
Physical properties--volatile organic compounds 162 grams/liter 0 grams/liter 71 grams/liter
Cost of waste management + staff exposure + liability $ $0 $
Reusable Yes, but supplier will not take excess back Yes, but supplier will not take excess back As part of contract, supplier will pick up all excess
Cost if excessed $ $ $0
Resistent to waste
Packaging Plastic containers Recycled metal containers Refillable metal containers
Cost of packaging disposal $ $ $0
Quantities 5-gallon largest 5-gallon largest 5-gallon largest
Flow Excellent Excellent Excellent
Coverage Sufficient with 1 coat Requires 2 coats Sufficient with 1 coat
Workability Excellent Very Satisfactory Excellent
Delivery On stock through local supplier On stock through local supplier Guaranteed delivery within 24 hours
Purchase Price $32/gallon$115/5-gallon cont. $68/2 gallons (2 coats) $280/10-gallon cont. $9/gallon with contract $40/5-gallon cont.
Life Cycle Cost $[total above costs] $ $

Your actual chart might be larger or more complex depending on the product or service being considered. Even with the help of the matrix, the decisions are not easy. What is the most environmentally preferable: a product made from a renewable resource or one made with recycled content, a product whose delivery is local and so reduces the use of fuel or one whose manufacture reduces energy and water? The answers to the decisions will depend on your site's needs and requirements and the particular situation. (Information on this web page is from The Competitive Advantage - EcoPurchasing published by Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio.)

For DOE Sustainable Acquisition questions, contact Shab Fardanesh (202-586-7011).

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Last Updated: July 28, 2011