Date of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Xufei Yang

Second Advisor

Jeanne Larson

Third Advisor

Jack Skinner


Today, nearly every industry needs a continuous power supply, as data loss can be more expensive than the capital expenditure for the backup power equipment. The demand for emergency standby power (ESP) generator sets is on the rise because of increasing industrialization. With increased industrialization comes a societal concern about the issue of natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. In response, manufacturing companies are providing more sustainable solutions in their products and processes. In this work, the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology has been applied to quantify the energy demands of each life cycle stage of an ESP generator set and identify areas of possible energy reductions in order to improve product sustainability. The energy demands were calculated using an Excel spreadsheet and data from Ecoinvent and the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) database. The life cycle inventory (LCI) was completed using data obtained from the manufacturing company and its suppliers. The results revealed that the use phase had the largest energy demand at nearly 95% of the total demand, followed by materials at 4%, transportation at 1%, and then manufacturing at less than 1%. Recommendations for potential energy reductions were made to the manufacturer. Because the use phase dominates the overall energy demand, increasing fuel efficiency will have the largest impact; however, the energy demands of the other stages should not be overlooked. In order for the generator set to have the most sustainable life, the goal should be to reduce energy demands wherever possible. Such reductions can be made by increasing remanufacturing rates and using materials with a higher recycled content.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering