Universiteit Leiden

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Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML)

Resources and Energy

How do technological systems impact the environment? And can they be designed in a more sustainable way? The Resources and Energy research program studies the importance of resources and energy for our society and aims to guide the shift towards a sustainable circular economy.

Resources and energy are important building blocks of our society. They are also important contributors to environmental impacts (e.g. climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, resource depletion).

The Resources and Energy research program assesses the resource and energy requirements linked to products and services at different scales. For example for specific technologies, such as an electric vehicle, or the entire renewable energy system or the built environment.

We use life cycle thinking and quantitative sustainability assessment approaches to identify how technological systems impact the environment and how they could be designed in more sustainable ways. Our ultimate goal is to provide guidance for the transition to a sustainable circular economy.

Key methods that we use are:

  • Material Flow Analysis (MFA),
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and
  • Environmental Input-Output Analysis (EIOA)

Important sectors linked to the use of resources and energy are, e.g.:

  • renewable energy technologies,
  • core industrial sectors such as cement, steel, or chemicals production,
  • the built environment (link to research program),
  • agriculture (link to research program),
  • mobility,


  • Material flow analysis (MFA)
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Environmental Input Output Analysis (EIOA)
  • Future scenarios
  • Planetary boundaries
  • Sustainability
  • Well-being


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