In 2002 Equiterre, a non-profit organisation in Canada campaigning for a more sustainable and fairer future, came up with the idea of creating a building that could become a melting pot of green ideas.

It would be a place where those committed to a greener future could share knowledge and work on new innovations. The problem was that they had no money, no site and no experience in property development. Enlisting the help of more than 45 partners of all kinds, from developers to…