Research from the Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association, St. Charles, Ill., reveals suspended ceilings can reduce a building’s lifetime operating costs through energy and maintenance savings.

“The Life Cycle Study: Suspended Ceilings v. Open Plenum” shows that although suspended ceilings cost more initially, they can achieve a life-cycle payback in less than 11 months compared with open-plenum designs, depending on building type and region.

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Based on 2006-07 energy rates, suspended ceilings can lower energy costs by 9 to 17 percent. Maintenance costs are estimated to be at least 10 percent less than open-plenum designs. The study looked at two building prototypes, a low-rise/mid-rise office building and single-story retail food store. Construction and operating costs were evaluated in Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Oklahoma City; Orlando, Fla.; and Phoenix to represent a broad range of climate zones, labor markets, construction practices and costs, as well as energy-rate levels.

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