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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Entopia building entrance

Help us to achieve our vision of turning our award-winning sustainably retrofitted office and innovation hub into a Living Lab for sustainability innovation. The Entopia Living Lab will provide a test bed for innovation and communication of new solutions with the potential to drive higher sustainability ambition and impact throughout the built environment. 

From the outset, our Entopia Building project set out to challenge the status quo in building design and delivery. By showcasing in practical terms how delivering better buildings is possible through leadership, collaboration and innovation,  the project set an exemplar for the industry as a whole. The building embodies CISL’s mission to develop leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy, and we activate this through our Foresight, Education, Convening, Innovation and network engagement activities.

The deep sustainable retrofit of Entopia is unique in achieving multiple sustainability standards through Passivhaus, BREEAM and Well. As part of an ambitious client brief, we set additional measures including the sourcing of bio-based materials, embodied carbon metrics over 100 years and ‘circularity’ in design. With the incredible support of a determined project team, industry experts and innovators and our wider network, in 2022 we opened the doors to the Entopia Building.

Today, Entopia provides an office, collaboration and innovation hub for CISL’s staff, network and members of the Canopy, our community and workspace for entrepreneurs, startups and innovators pioneering sustainability innovation.

Our vision now is for Entopia to become a Living Lab, where innovators, academics and pioneering companies in the built environment can come together to pilot and test new interventions in the design, operation and use of lived spaces – and to communicate and share the results for public benefit. Our goal is to provide a space that replicates what the buildings of tomorrow will look like, so that experimentation can meet the needs of future building design for people, nature and climate.

The Entopia Living Lab will provide a collaborative open innovation platform to accelerate the adoption of solutions and innovations in the built environment through enhanced collaboration, demonstration and validation of solutions with routes to real world impact via industry practice and policy engagement.

Experimentation will focus on new practices, processes and technology with the aim to deliver positive social, environmental and economic outcomes. We want to demonstrate the business case for sustainable retrofit as much as the social and environmental case.

To enable us to host a truly independent and collaborative resource that can be accessed by academics and innovators alike, we are seeking financial support from our network to help us launch the Living Lab concept. Once running, we anticipate that individual pilots may attract third party funding – but we need your support to get the lab itself off the ground.

The Living Lab will initially harness the exemplar retrofitted Entopia Building as a platform for:

  • experimentation and validation pilots to test new interventions in the pathway towards a sustainable built environment.
  • collaboration, learning and capacity building across disciplines and value chains.
  • supporting the evidence base for ambitious retrofit practices, policies and technologies.
  • informing new standards and protocols for open data sharing and collaboration.
  • external communication and engagement with policymakers, industry and professional bodies

Through the Living Lab, we aim to provide:

  • access for industry to test and validate solutions in the real-world
  • access for academics to contribute to the evidence base of solutions
  • exposure and testbed for innovators and solution providers
  • a collaborative platform for funders and partners to work with innovators, industry and academia

Support the Living Lab

By supporting the Entopia Building’s Living Lab you will help CISL to play its part as an effective catalyst for positive change and enable innovators, policymakers and industry decision-makers to come together to test new building practices that could unlock the step change we need for a sustainable transition.

In exchange for your kind support, you will receive regular updates and will be invited to attend exclusive events both in Entopia and online to hear about the outcomes associated with the project. You will also be recognised on the CISL website and in our Living Lab case studies, reports and materials. For major donations, or corporate support, we can discuss the most appropriate ways to recognise your contribution, and we encourage you to get in touch directly.

Find out how to donate

If your company would like to become a partner or supporter of the Living Lab we would be keen to speak with you. We are looking for funding partners and pilot sponsors, as well as those who have expertise to offer. Please email for a conversation with our team.

The Story of Entopia

Discover the story behind the world-leading sustainable retrofit of Entopia, through an immersive but brief publication, which takes you from why this has been no ordinary project through to how the finished building looks on the inside.

Building Change 

Find out more about the work we are doing in the Built Enviornment sector. 


Over the coming months, CISL will be running a series of workshops and hackathons related to the Living Lab. Register your interest below to be sent details of these workshops as they become available: