Monday, May 23, 2022
As part of the PUrE Intrawise project a study investigating the life cycle sustainability of domestic micro-generation technologies is being undertaken.

Environmental and socio-economic benefits and burdens of the technologies are being considered under several future energy scenarios extending to 2050.



Micro-generation technologies (such as heat pumps, solar photovoltaics) have been identified by the U.K. Government as a key measure for tackling the sustainability issues associated with domestic energy supply. Recently implemented measures such as feed-in-tariffs (FITs) are widely expected to have a positive influence on uptake, however, research into the full environmental and socio-economic sustainability of these technologies is lacking in the literature.

This research investigates, on a life cycle basis, the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of micro-generation technologies aimed at the U.K.ís domestic sector under several future energy scenarios with different levels of micro-generation penetration.

This research will assist in identifying the main life cycle impacts associated with the technologies and pathways to the reduction of these impacts. It will also help assist with decision-making by providing information on the sustainability of these technologies under different.


The research is using tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and scenario analysis to measure sustainability indicators (e.g. global warming potential, life cycle cost, jobs created). This will establish the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of the following micro-generation technologies:

  • Heat pumps (air, ground and water)
  • Micro-combined heat and power systems (fuel cell and Stirling engine powered)
  • Micro-wind turbines
  • Micro-hydro systems

Environmental, economic and social impacts that arise during the construction, operation and disposal phases of the building are determined as well as the amount of life cycle embodied and operational energy.

Figure 1 | Examples of Micro-generation technologies

Further Information

For further information about this research please contact Ben Greening.

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