In 2006 The Foundry was recognised by RIBA East and won a Sustainability Award for its eco-build features. 

Once a redundant timber-framed horticultural engine shed, it was dismantled and refurbished to provide an Environmental Education Centre for the East of England. 

This building provides a base for all our educational training, theoretical and practical skills in community development and sustainable woodland management. 

During 2013 and 2014, thanks to new funding, we were able to add two essential new extensions.

These now provide a new office and a training room, with the latter regularly used as a quiet study space.



  • 85% of the original timbers and brick plinth were recycled. Using existing timbers reduces the demand for brought-in timber.  A simple application of lime wash before re-erection protects against beetle and fungal attack, hence no need for toxic chemical treatments.
  • Lime-based throughout - no concrete. Lime is more energy-efficient than concrete to process and manufacture. Lime is incombustible, making it an ideal fire retardant for use in timber framed buildings.  Lime is able to 'breathe' thus safeguarding the other materials in a building (such as timber and brick) from moisture changes that occur throughout the year.  The low thermal conductivity of lime plaster makes it feel warmer than cement plaster in cooler climates, thus contributing to a feeling of comfort.
  • All insulation uses hemp and lime - for floor, external walls and roof. The hemp used was grown in Suffolk.  Hemp absorbs CO2 as it grows and the finished product can 'breathe' naturally.  This means no need for plastic or foil membranes, further reducing the environmental impact of the building and ensuring excellent internal air quality, good soundproofing and excellent thermal performance.
  • No damp proof course - thus allowing all materials to breathe.
  • All internal walls are wattle and daub, using our own clay and hazel.
  • Heating fuelled by bio mass boiler using wood chip harvested and processed by beneficiaries working in our own woodland. (In 2019, we replaced this with an Air Source Heat Pump.)
  • Domestic water heated by solar panels
  • Use of double-glazed timber windows with linseed oil- Natural linseed oil paints have no environmental impact compared to conventional paints.  Windows can be recycled at the end of their life with no environmental penalty.
  • All rainwater is recycled.
  • A reed bed sewage system is used for all domectic waste, using natural biological processes.
  • All materials and labour sourced within a 25 mile radius, as far as possible.  A large proportion of the work was undertaken by local volunteers, thus simultaneously reducing costs and increasing community involvement.
  • A 15m tall 6kw wind turbine produces all our electricity and any surplus is fed back into the national grid.