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Higher Education Case Studies

16 May 2024
Sheikh Zayed Theatre

Entopia Building, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Anna Nitch-Smith, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leaders & Peter Kelly, ISG

Entopia is a internationally leading, fabric first, sustainable retrofit of a former telephone exchange into the new headquarters for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

It is a five-story concrete frame structure with a basement located in a conservation area in Cambridge. The Entopia building project aimed to be a deep green retrofit that maximised operational utility, value and energy efficiency, and minimised adverse embodied carbon impacts whist pursuing opportunities for holistic sustainability and resilience.

Each of the project partners take you through their project brief, the challenges faced, and the solutions they implemented. The partner perspectives of the architect, MEP, acoustics and sustainability designers, project manager and the contractor are all presented.

The building's sustainability successes are across multiple dimensions. Impressive embodied carbon savings, operational energy savings, bio-based material use, circular economy practices, and sustainability certifications including BREEAM and EnerPHit are all laid out. The project legacy, lessons learned and the awards the project has received so far are all presented.

How to plan your net zero pathway – University of Leeds case study
Nick Boid, Net Zero Campus lead & Lara Balazs, Senior Energy Engineer, Buro Happold and Ann Allen, University of Leeds

In September 2019 the University of Leeds announced plans for bold action on climate change, outlining seven principles to guide the University’s actions. Buro Happold was commissioned to undertake a feasibility study on how the University can decarbonise its impressive 1,000 acres estate.

Led by the Sustainability Service and working with Leeds academics, researchers and students, the University subsequently developed a comprehensive Climate Plan. The plan represents the single biggest investment the University have ever made: £174 million over the next decade, more than £150 million of which will be put towards achieving the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Buro Happold was involved in every stage of that journey. The University of Leeds is the 8th largest in the UK by income (£715m in 2017/18) with over 38,000 students from 170 countries enrolled at the University, of which approximately 10,000 are postgraduates. The University is the third largest employer in Leeds with 8,700 staff.  The University’s estate comprises nearly 500 buildings. Want to know what that journey looked like and lessons learnt along the way?

If you are responsible for a large educational estate and don’t know where to start on the pathway to achieving net zero carbon emissions, this Masterclass is for you. Net Zero Campus lead, Nick Boid and Senior Energy Engineer, Lara Balazs, will:

  • Talk you through every stage of the transition from feasibility to implementation
  • Outline heat and power decarbonisation options Discuss the pros and cons of a demand reduction plan;
  • Suggest the optimal approach taken around a fully costed pathway


Anna Nitch-Smith, Chief Operating Officer - Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Peter Kelly, Group Director of Sustainable Operations - ISG
Nick Boid, Technical Director - Buro Happold
Lara Balazs, Associate - Buro Happold
Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development - University of Leeds



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