Commissioning parties in the civil engineering sector are focusing on sustainable infrastructure with a low environmental impact. Sustainability is therefore a key aspect in the tendering procedures of Rijkswaterstaat, ProRail and various regional and municipal authorities. TNO helps to reduce environmental impact with innovations in design, construction and maintenance. We develop solutions in collaboration with the public and private sectors.

TNO focuses on three aspects of sustainability:

  • Reducing emissions. TNO believes that CO2 emissions from infrastructure can be reduced by as much as 40% through more efficient use of energy and materials, extending useful life, re-use and innovative materials, products and processes. Many of these measures also cut costs and reduce other hazardous substances.
  • Closed-loop raw-material chains. Asphalt and concrete are the most widely used materials in our infrastructure. Thanks to new and improved methods for recycling and production, more and more raw materials can be reused. This in turn reduces waste and the demand for primary raw materials (such as bitumen, gravel and cement).
  • Less damage and nuisance due to noise and vibration. New railway lines, more and faster train traffic, and house-building close to rail routes require effective reduction of noise and vibration. TNO also researches the seriousness of vibrations.

Assessing environmental performance

TNO develops methods for assessing the environmental performance of infrastructure projects. This means that, during tendering procedures, commissioning parties can translate their environmental objectives into clear and straightforward requirements. As those Market players therefore know precisely what is expected of them and, on that basis, can submit a competitive and distinctive bid. TNO's work in this field is strongly geared to methods that help to assess the environmental performance of innovative solutions at an early stage, thereby facilitating innovation while keeping risks at a manageable level. We are developing sustainability performance assessment methods at national as well as EU level.

Sustainable innovations

TNO works on innovations to improve the environmental performance of infrastructure. In this field we focus on materials, products and processes in which knowledge is an important factor for further development and implementation. Our work geared to extending the useful life of civil works and asphalt makes a direct contribution to reducing environmental pollution. We work on a wide range of sustainable innovations: from energy-saving road surfaces to concrete produced from waste materials, and from glass cycle paths with solar cells to energy-saving construction equipment.

Our work

Extending service life civil structures

Structures are designed to have a long service life. This is usually between 50 and 100 years. Many of the civil structures in the Dutch infrastructure are more than half way through their intended service... Read more


Dr. ir. Sten de Wit

  • Energy
  • Buildings