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Green factory for eco coffin manufacturers
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A new green warehouse and offices are helping a family owned business to produce its range of 'eco' funeral products in the most environmentally sustainable and ethical manner.
Green factory for eco coffin manufacturers

Ecoffins say that all their biodegradable and low embodied carbon products, which provide an alternative to the use of timber for caskets, are made to high environmental standards and anything that is produced outside the EU is made in certified Fair Trade companies. Their factory in people's Republic of China is the first UK Company to gain Fair Trade Status in the Peoplesí Republic, beating Oxfam Hong Kong by a short margin.

William Wainman, managing partner said, "Today's official opening of our office and warehouse at Lion Farm is an important milestone for our company. The aim was to create a sustainable building which our team and customers could enjoy with minimum harm to the environment. The architect and builders have clearly demonstrated what can be done to bring sustainability into the design of commercial premises."

The carbon neutral building was designed by William Matthews, who was the site architect for The Shard, London. The building is at Lion Farm on the site of a derelict nursery. The team hope it will serve as an exemplar of environmental building for commercial premises.

Key features include::
* Solar panels generate more electricity than is used over the course of a year so the premises are carbon negative to run.
* The majority of LED lighting is based on motion sensors so they only switch on when needed.
* Just over 30 tonnes of Cedar logs from the Royal British Legion Industries were used to clad the outside of the warehouse. The scrap left over was used to make desktops for the office and a 16' long boardroom table. All these were handmade by the Ecoffins team.
* The building has a heat exchanger which works in tandem with a ground source heat pump.
* Rainwater is channelled into a tank for irrigation and vehicle cleaning purposes and can be used for an emergency in case of fire.
* Landscaping to enhance biodiversity. Over 500 trees have been planted on site and a local bee-keeper has installed several hives on the site. This aids with pollination and has already produced honey given to staff.
* The building work was carried out by local firms.

The building was 4 years in the making. In 2008 the company purchased a two and a half hectare brownfield site near Milstead in Kent. After gaining planning permission they set about designing and building what William Wainman describes as "a generous building that gives so much to those that work inside it and also its surrounding environment". Recognised for its twin approach to being both locally minded and environmentally aware, the firm won a grant award from the South East Development Agency towards creating the building.

Allison Wainman, Director, said "We have made every effort to use local materials and suppliers. The driveway was constructed from the materials from the demolition of the old nursery so we only needed to take very little waste off site. Apart from the steel frame all the materials used were local. The main contractor was Chantlers Agricultural Construction of Harrietsham."

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