Products Cost Factor
How product cost is calculated in cove.tool
Zahra Zolfaghari avatar
Written by Zahra Zolfaghari
Updated over a week ago

In this article, we explain where we source the cost data for cove.tool's product directory and how we factor project location into the cost you see.

In summary, we source our cost data through field research, leveraging our partnerships with various manufacturers, and by performing literary research using credible and reputable publications. We also reference costs that users have shared. At the moment that covers 4 categories seen in the optimization tool: wall insulation, glazing assembly, HVAC systems, and lighting systems. Lastly, it is important to note that our costs only reflect bare material cost and do not reflect labor, equipment, freight, taxes, and/or other market-driven premiums which may impact your cost.

Below we go deeper into each individual category.

Where do costs come from?

Wall Insulation

Cost for these products is collected from readily available sources, including suppliers and retailers such as, Home Depot, Lowes, and similar platforms. We also source costs from common product manufacturers such as Owens Corning, Rockwool, Knauff, and other commercial-grade building materials.

An example of a wall assembly included in our product database is Rockwool Comfortbatt R-23 and Owens Corning Formular R-15, wood stud, 16" O.C., which is priced at $3.30 per square foot. Learn more about Wall product assumptions here.

Roof Insulation

The cost for roof insulation products is sourced from BIMSmith, which is a free platform for building professionals to download building product data from the world's leading building product manufacturers.

An example of a roofing system included in our product database is Neopor Plus (GPS) ci R-31 with Graphite Polystyrene, which is priced at $2.56 per square foot.


Cost for the glazing products is collected directly from manufacturers like Viracon, Guardian Glass, Solarban, and Sungate.

The typical glazing assembly in the glazing product database is a 1" insulated double-paned clear/clear glass unless otherwise specified. An example of a glazing material included in our product database is the Viracon VZRE 1-54 SGHC-0.26, which is priced at $3.14 per square foot. Read more about glazing here.

Lighting Products

The cost for lighting products comes from a research database and is cross-checked with lighting manufacturers.

HVAC Systems

The cost for HVAC systems comes from a cost database of the projects that have been built over the past 10 years. This database is provided to cove.tool by our architecture and engineering partner firms and it is used to come up with the square foot cost for each system type.

How we factor location in the product cost?

To factor location in the product cost, we use cost factors provided by national and international resources. For the US, the cost factors are currently sourced from Engineering News-Record (ENR), a well-known and one of the most revered publications in the construction industry. Below is an example of the ENR Cost Indexes organized by cities. By multiplying these cost factors into bare product cost(s), we can get a more accurate and location-sensitive cost for various products.

Example of ENR's Cost Indexes by City

For locations outside of the US where we do not have a product cost database available, we rely upon the international cost resources to understand the perceived cost for that location.

One Last Note:

We always recommend inviting a cost estimator to your project as early as possible for additional accuracy. Other manufacturers who wish to list products in cove.tool should reach out via chat and share retail pricing per unit and any regional differences. If you want to autoload your own product cost directory to covetool, feel free to reach out to your cove.tool point of contact for related forms.

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