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Mark Beard opens Green Unit factory in boost to production and jobs

An Oxfordshire business which designs and builds ultra-low carbon modular buildings has opened a new factory – boosting production and creating new jobs in the area.

Green Unit, which started life producing eco-buildings in farm sheds, has found a new home in a converted hangar providing c25,000sqf of space, just six miles south of Oxford next to the Culham Science Centre in the heart of the Science Vale.

The off-site construction factory will enable Green Unit to significantly boost production as well as improve efficiency by up to 75%. In addition, the company is creating at least ten new jobs, split between factory floor and office roles.

Demand for Green Unit’s ARC brand buildings has grown across a range of sectors where they are being used, such as healthcare, education, commercial use and holiday accommodation. The construction methods and unique design makes them both versatile and ultra-low carbon.

As a sustainable construction company, Green Unit ensures that its production processes are as green as possible, using local contractors and suppliers wherever possible, and the factory itself will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Jonathan Finnerty, Managing Director at Green Unit, said the company now has the benefit of up to six new production lines for its modular buildings, enabling the off-site construction of up to c.480sqm at any point in time.

He said: “The factory opening really does revolutionise Green Unit’s production space and, as such, our capacity to deliver more units to our key markets.

“Investment by Beard Construction in October 2020 unlocked the funding necessary to develop the factory site. As part of that we have been able to invest in specialist machinery to streamline some of our processes and create the kind of facility we simply did not have the space for previously.

“We’ve worked hard to create the demand we now have for our product, and with a serious sales pipeline emerging it certainly feels a long way from building in agricultural units.”

Green Unit has also been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) through Innovate UK to work closely with Oxford Brookes University over 30 months to develop and then productionise serious sustainable elements. A key outcome of this is to reach net zero carbon status on Green Unit’s ARC buildings by 2025.

Finnerty adds: “As a relatively new business, it’s a real boost to have support from well-established firms such as Beard, which share our vision for sustainable construction.”

Beard chairman Mark Beard formally opened the factory in a ceremony on September 8.

He said: “It’s a really important step for Green Unit to take with the opening of this new facility, which will significantly increase their capacity for production.

“This is a young, innovative company which is committed to tackling the challenges of climate change through innovation and creative design, which very much aligns with our own ethos.

“Off-site and modular construction methods are being increasingly used in our industry, and so we could see a real opportunity for key learnings on both sides of the partnership with the investment we made in the business.

“In construction we have a real opportunity to make a positive difference to climate change by committing to more sustainable methods of working. That is why we are proud to be part of Green Unit’s exciting future and look forward to seeing the factory up and running.”

Pictured at the opening of the new facility on Weds, left to right, Jonthan Finnerty MD at Green Unit, and Mark Beard, chairman at construction firm Beard.

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Sarah Irving

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