National Physical Laboratory

Sustainability sector


With the onset of a low carbon economy in the UK, areas such as sustainable communities, climate change and sustainable consumption and production are being prioritised. NPL is working with both industry and environmentally focused partners to help achieve these agendas through the development of technology and measurement systems underpinned by cutting-edge measurement science that are required to make these goals a reality.

How NPL Can Help?

  • Environmental emissions monitoring - NPL's capability in environmental emissions monitoring is world leading; from GHG and stack emissions, to noise and radioactive particle monitoring, NPL can provide highly accurate measurements required for a range of environmental impacts. We are entrusted by DEFRA, the Environment Agency and NERC to lead UK monitoring networks as well as the provision of traceable measurements for climate change models. Our capability in this area also extends to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
  • Low carbon technology assessment - Novel, low carbon technologies need to be subjected to rigorous testing to ensure they are fit for purpose and offer genuine carbon reductions. NPL can assess technology against international standards or bespoke verification protocols. This independent assessment of performance can accelerate innovation and routes to market, and provide assurance to your investors, regulators, and consumers. Key areas of interest include: carbon capture and storage; measurement for smart grids; and fuel cell technology.
  • Resource efficiency - Applying knowledge of materials properties can help maximise product performance and recyclability, whilst minimising waste. NPL can assess materials performance, properties and impact, especially in the context of an increasingly complex regulatory framework.
  • Carbon measurement infrastructure - the Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL aims to provide a rigorous technical infrastructure to underpin the £100 billion low carbon economy. The Centre will work, along with our partners, to provide the necessary measurement infrastructure to support government, business and academia in emissions reduction, climate science and low carbon technology.
  • Materials development and performance - NPL has world class expertise and facilities for the measurement of the thermal performance of materials and structures used in buildings; pipe insulation; high temperature insulation and refractories; and engineering materials including plastics, composites, ceramics, metals and alloys. By working with NPL, industry can understand the thermal properties, ensuring products, systems and buildings are compliant to regulations in place aimed at reducing energy consumption and as the first step in reducing CO2 emissions and securing our future energy supplies.

With industry being driven by new legislation to reduce carbon emissions, NPL provides wide ranging support to bring new innovations to market. Our expertise spans areas from research and development support, to new technology performance validation. NPL is active in several technology areas across the sustainability agenda including; development of low carbon technology, low carbon buildings, emissions monitoring, smart grid, and new materials development. By working with NPL, organisations can mitigate the risks of developing new green technology and services with the assurances of cutting-edge measurement science.

For more information, please contact us

Challenge Driven, Solution Focused

Our expertise and innovation eliminates the need for specialist in-house resources, reduces technical risk and can deliver revenue, cost and time savings for complex technical challenges. For over 110 years we have solved real world government and business problems and today this is applied to global customer requests from a range of markets. NPL solutions are delivered in world-class research facilities using the outputs from significant research programmes supported by government and have been shown to be world-leading in over 80% of science areas.

Customers have access to over 500 multi-disciplinary scientists, along with an extensive national and international network of partners. Our collaboration network of other science organisations, industry, academia and international laboratories prove invaluable to deliver the requirements of our customers who range from government departments, start-ups to large global multinational corporations.

NPL is working with businesses in the Sustainability sector by developing challenge driven solutions through the application of cutting-edge metrology that meets our customers' needs.

Our capability includes:

Development and assessment of low carbon technologies

Measurements to underpin existing and emerging carbon reporting and pricing schemes

World-class capability in climate science

Environmental emissions monitoring

Materials performance testing

Product life cycle assessment

Training and skills development

Instrumentation - development, validation and optimisation

Working with business and industry, NPL's Research and Development programmes focus on identifying and addressing customer needs, ensuring our expertise and knowledge is always relevant and easily applied by our partners.

For more information, please contact us


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