© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. This paper presents experimental investigation of low-temperature heat to electricity generation system based on Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) using R152a as the working fluid. Both energy efficiency and exergy efficiency were analyzed based on the experiments. Although energy efficiency was low to 5.0% when the evaporating and cooling temperatures were 65°C and 11°C, respectively, the exergy efficiency reached 25%, which showed great competitiveness among low-temperature heat utilization technologies. To reveal the energy recovery proportion from the waste heat, both energy extraction efficiency and exergy extraction efficiency as well as energy and exergy loss paths were analyzed. When the heat source was 65°C, 14.9% of the maximum possible thermal energy in the heat source was absorbed by the organic working fluid, and 10.7% was transferred to the cooling medium. The power output contributed 0.64%. A total of 1.8% of the exergy in the heat stream flowed to the cooling medium. The start-up work takes dramatically 0.16% and 1.7% of energy and exergy, respectively. Other energy and exergy loss occurs due to the irreversibility of the heat transfer process and expansion process. Cascade ORC system could enlarge the temperature difference of the heat stream and raise the power output. However, the energy efficiency of the multi-stage ORC system is lower than single-stage system, since there was a downward trend of the temperature of heat source for the latter stage. ORC cycle can lower the temperature of heat source to 45°C.