Entopia Building, Cambridge, UK by BDP

The lighting of the Entopia Building in Cambridge has won a GREEN Build Back Better Award for BDP in the 2023 lighting category. 

Some 350 luminaires removed from a London office fit-out were reused in the exemplar sustainable building for Cambridge University. 

BDP upgraded and reused the lights in the transformation of a 1930s telephone exchange in the £12 million project to create a new headquarters for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership.

The original supplier of the lights agreed to re-test and re-warrant the lights, and new endplates for the fittings were 3D printed so they could be installed on the exposed ceiling. 

This process was reliant on insurance approval and the client’s willingness to engage in the reuse process. 

Energy consumption post-refurbishment is expected to be less than 16 per cent of the pre-refurbishment level. 

The adoption of a ‘fabric first approach’, in which reducing energy demand is prioritised above obtaining energy from more sustainable sources and is considered in design before the building services, led to a remarkable improvement in the predicted energy performance of the building envelope, its structure and the components that enclose the internal spaces. 

This enabled a corresponding reduction in equipment capacities required in the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems.

The energy performance of the building will be monitored via a three-year post-occupancy evaluation (POE) programme to allow actual consumption data to be compared with predicted performance.

By reducing the requirements for the building’s services, the team could achieve a substantial corresponding reduction in the building’s carbon and material footprint. 

Additionally, the ability to specify smaller MEP equipment reduced the associated capital costs of the MEP systems relative to a conventional fit-out. This common-sense approach to design, combined with a strategy of minimising interventions to the existing building, enabled Entopia’s exceptionally lean and sustainable outcomes.

Dame Polly Courtice of the CISL told the Circular Lighting Report: ‘The Entopia Building aims to be an international exemplar for sustainable office retrofits, demonstrating how an existing office building can be made highly energy efficient in its redevelopment and use, whilst supporting the enhanced wellbeing of staff and visitors.’

Max Fordham was the consulting engineering at later stages in the project.  The lighting designers were Colin Ball and Scott Kluger.

Pictures: Jack Hobhouse