Entopia Building Tour, Cambridge

On Friday, a small group from Plan A’s Higher Education Sector team visited the award winning Entopia building in Cambridge. The building is the home of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and is one of the world’s most sustainable retrofitted buildings.

The event was hosted by Architype, the architects for the project, and included presentations by the Project Director Ben Humphries, CISL Fellow John French, Project Architect Wendy Bishop, and Chief Operating Officer Anna Nitch-Smith.

The Project Team shared the ambitions, innovations and results for this ground-breaking retrofit project including the buildings role as a Passivhaus (EnerPHit) exemplar and the building’s energy performance following its opening in March 2022. The early data clearly demonstrates it is using much less energy than its predecessor and is exceeding the project’s forecast energy saving targets.

Plan A are currently working with David Chipperfield Architects on the LSE’s Firoz Lalji Global Hub at 35 Lincolns Inn Fields. Our team gained a deeper understanding of the Entopia project and its relevance to the LSE project that aims to set a new benchmark for sustainability on the The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Estate.

Some key takeaways:

1. The project is a teaching and research resource – The CISL is committed to sharing the lessons learned from the project to maximise awareness of the projects aim and outcomes through publishing research and case studies on the Entopia Project.

2. Circularity principles reduced embodied carbon – Circularity principles were a core element of the project and a range of reclaimed and used materials, including donated materials were used to significantly reduce whole life embodied carbon.

3. Sustainability certifications – as well minimising embodied carbon the project was designed to achieve three highly challenging sustainability certifications: BREEAM Outstanding, WELL Gold and EnerPHit Classic.

4. Project Charter – a Project Charter based on the brief was an effective way of aligning team members with the project’s aspirations. This was reinforced through collaborative workshops driven through client-side leadership.

5. A fabric first refurbishment strategy – The existing masonry walls are retrofitted with internal wall insulation and an airtightness layer using three bio-based products: wood fibre insulation, timber studwork, and a lime and cork plaster (Diathonite).

6. Intrusive surveys are vital refurbishment projects – intrusive surveys of the building fabric prior to commencing construction work will help to identify and reduce risks associated with airtightness and heat loss.

The Plan A Team would like to thank Architype for organising the event and the CISL for hosting the presentations and building visit.

#sustainability #retrofit #architecture #highereducation #designmanagement

Projects Practice