Thermoelectric (TE) energy scavenging in high performance microelectronic systems has not been sufficiently developed in the past for practical use due to lack of methodology to minimize the impact of such power generation on performance. This paper describes an empirically based method to enable harvesting of excess heat with examples from ongoing work. The scheme involves detailed characterization of TE modules and notebook systems, along with co-development of correlated system models for the optimization of TE integration. As the iteration of models and measurements converge, the available energy from heat is quantified with high confidence. All of our studies have been performed with the goal of maximum power generation and minimum impact on performance.