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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

U.S. EPA Environmental Accounting Project

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Many potentially beneficial pollution prevention (P2) projects are discounted because all the relevant costs and benefits of the project have not been included, according to a study funded in part by the U.S. EPA Environmental Accounting Project.

P2 is a practice that reduces or eliminates the creation of pollutants through increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water or other natural resources by conservation.

Traditional methods of assessing the financial viability of a pollution-prevention project use only the direct revenues, costs and capital investment. They overlook many of the indirect costs and benefits that could well make an unattractive pollution-prevention project a viable alternative.

Total Cost Assessment (TCA) provides the tools to fully analyze and compare one or more projects while incorporating an expanded view of indirect costs and benefits.

TCA differs from conventional practices in four key ways, because it:

  • expands the cost inventories, savings, and revenue structures to include indirect, less-tangible items typically omitted from project analyses

  • emphasizes the accurate allocation of costs and savings to specific process and product lines rather than lumping them as overhead costs;

  • extends the time horizon of the analysis to account for longer-term costs and savings typical of pollution prevention investment; and

  • uses profitability indicators capable of incorporating the time value of money and longer-term costs and savings (such as net present value [NPVI).

TCA is particularly useful for analyzing pollution prevention investments because it helps show their true value.

For more information on Total Cost Assessment, contact Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, Tel: 206-223-1151; e-mail:

In a related development, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting grant applications for a Pollution Prevention (P2) /Energy Efficiency (E2) Site Assessment Grant Program.

Grants under the P2/ E2 Site Assessment Grant Program will be used to fund 80 percent of the total cost of a P2 /E2 assessment, up to a maximum of $5000 for Pennsylvania small businesses with 100 or fewer employees and $15,000 for permit holders of any size. (It is possible to get a free site assessment from the DEP)

A site assessment is an opportunity for a company to have objective outsiders come on-site to evaluate its operations and suggest ways of preventing pollution and increasing energy efficiency.

Environmental consultants, service providers or others who are experienced in performing energy efficiency, pollution prevention and/or environmental site assessments are considered qualified to perform assessments under this grant program.

The DEP recently approved several applications for grants to fund P2/E2 site assessments.

For complete grant program information, please refer to the Guidelines and General Information for the Pollution Prevention/Energy Efficiency Site Assessment Grant Program at and/or contact Christine Martin at 717-783-9981.

EES can perform a P2/E2 site assessment, which can help your company realize significant savings through reduced costs for materials, energy, waste handling and disposal and decreased regulatory compliance and liability expenses. Contact Tom Petersen of EES at (215) 704-1506 or



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