Autocase Updates

by | May 21, 2015 | Uncategorized

AutoCASE for Stormwater is a Software as a Service and as such is being constantly updated based on user feedback and Impact Infrastructure research. When you log in to AutoCASE you can see these updates:

Here are the updates to date:

May 21, 2015

v1.2 Feature Improvements

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Cost Estimation – Capital Expenditures Unsure what the costs of your project will be? Now, AutoCASE can estimate them for you! In the early planning stage of a project, you may have an idea about the very rough design and location of the project, and AutoCASE can help show the entire value by estimating the capital expenditures that will be affiliated with that design. Many green infrastructure features can have their capital costs estimated in AutoCASE, including the following: lawn/grassy area, bioretention cells, dry detention ponds, infiltration basins, infiltration trenches, porous pavement, green roof, wetlands, rain barrels, cisterns, and new trees.

Cost Estimation – Operations and Maintenance Costs Quite often, operations and maintenance costs can add up to be equal to or greater than the initial capital costs. AutoCASE now can help to estimate these costs so they can be taken into account in the project’s analysis.

Canada Functionality! In addition to running analyses in the United States, AutoCASE now has full functionality in Canada. This means that 136 cities across Canada’s ten provinces (and including the Northwest Territories and Yukon) can now have projects analyzed. Data localized to these cities includes rainfall, temperature, population, square mileage, incomes, housing prices, tax rates, and more.

Benefit-Cost Ratio Metric in Project Results You now have one more metric to help communicate the value of your project. The Benefit-Cost Ratio is determined by the discounted value of the total benefits divided by the discounted value of the total costs of the project. It can be found under “Summary Metrics” on the Project Summary Results page.

v1.2 Methodology Updates

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Green Roof Asset Life Extension Green roofs are known to last substantially longer than traditional roof options. This means that they need to be replaced less frequently, leading to reduced costs over the life of the project. The “Green Roof Asset Life Extension” benefit captures this value so it can be incorporated into the analysis.

Simplification and clarification of O&M Costs – Removal of Energy and Employee costs as separate categories Employee costs and energy costs are ultimately components of operations and maintenance costs; however, they were previously displayed as separate costs and benefits. They have now been rolled into O&M costs. O&M costs attributed to employees is defaulted to 32% (with a range of 25% to 56%) (source: US Census, Factfinder, 2007 Economic Census, NAICS Code = Landscaping; Construction; Small Business). Energy costs are defaulted to 0% but can be input at whatever values are relevant to your project. Energy USAGE itself is still available as inputs, so the social and environmental value of reduced energy usage can still be captured.

April 17, 2015

v1.1 Feature Improvements

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Tips on homepage You can now get more information about what something is by mousing over it on the homepage. image for share analysis

Mousing over an input name provides more information We have removed “Field Information” on the right side of the inputs pages. This has been replaced with tips containing that same field information. These tips can be seen by mousing over the input name. Note that this is currently available for MOST inputs. Almost all inputs will contain field information by the next AutoCASE update (4-6 weeks).

Ability to request a new city in AutoCASE If the city for your project is not listed, you can now request that we add it to AutoCASE. When mousing over “City” on the “Basic Inputs” page, you will find a link to e-mail us directly and request a new city or town be added.

v1.1 Methodology Updates

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Added new inputs and outputs for “Regulatory Penalties” Based on your feedback, we have added the ability to take into account potential regulatory penalties. The inputs for this can be found in “Common Inputs” under “Government Impacts”.

CapEx and O&M Costs are summed at the top of their inputs pages Depending on the toggle selections on the “Basic Inputs” page, AutoCASE now displays the totals for Capital Expenditures as well as Operations and Maintenance costs at the top of their inputs pages. This should make it simpler to keep track of how much CapEx or O&M costs you have input on each page, without having to sum them manually.

If inputs are unchanged, the results no longer change AutoCASE runs a Monte Carlo simulation when analyzing project value, and Monte Carlo simulations inherently contain an element of randomization. This means that even if your inputs stay the same, your results may change. This can be misleading and can lead to perceived reductions in value despite running analyses with MORE sustainable design features. To rectify this issue, we have set the seed for our random number generators. Each variable is still drawing on its own independent set of random numbers for each simulation, but the order of random numbers is now staying consistent from one simulation to another. This means that our simulation now has all the benefits that Monte Carlos can offer, without you having to contend with slight changes in your results (unless, of course, you have changed some of the design features!). Check it out when running an analysis!

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