Building a Future in Northern Sustainability

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SEED 75 is a web story series about NWT businesses and entrepreneurs who have experienced growth and success with help from SEED’s new Strategic Investments Stream

May 1, 2019

When Manuel Jorge moved to the North in the 1980s, it was to make a living retrofitting and building new homes in the communities. He soon saw opportunity in manufacturing and assembling essential building components in the North.

Over the years, Manuel has taken advantage of funding provided under the GNWT’s Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Policy.  As he and his team have worked towards stability and market penetration, the policy has helped turn Manuel’s vision of a unique northern building technology a reality. 

Today, as the founder and President of Energy Wall & Building Product Ltd., he is recognized for his innovation and design of his company’s namesake – the Energy Wall Building System designed specifically for application in harsh climates like the Canadian Arctic.

“I believe that we need to protect our environment,” he says. “By building a more effective and innovative building envelope that will save fossil fuel consumption, reduce gas emissions and save in operating costs, we can achieve a much better end result.”

“The Energy Wall insulation System is a way of achieving all of these goals. At the same time, it allows us to be able to provide comfort to our families. On average, people are paying 80 per cent less in utilities.”

With his eye on further expansion, Manuel  contacted ITI’s North Slave office about SEED’s new Strategic Investment Stream; a pilot project that allows for a one-time contribution of up-to $75,000 for initiatives which directly increase the business and economic activities of a community.

His vision was the the crown jewel of the Energy Wall’s directive – manufactured home development.

Energy Wall already designed and manufactured custom modular homes and prefabricated engineered home packages. Their Modular FLEX-HOUSING units are highly configurable with a range of options in home design and construction; and, of course designed with their trademarked technology, to withstand the climate conditions of life in Canada’s North.

Photo: Artist rendering of a Energy Wall home design.

But, their location in Kam Lake allowed for only outdoor assembly. Manuel needed an enclosed space that would allow him and his team to keep up with demand.

The Strategic Investment Stream was just what he needed.  The $75,000 went towards a 72 x 150 foot non-rigid building that now sits on the Energy wall property and allows the team to assemble up to three homes at a time.

Manuel and his team now have the capacity to build 20 – 25 manufactured homes per year, roughly two homes per month.  Even more exciting for Manual, his company can move beyond government projects to deliver environmentally sustainable and made-in-the-North homes to developers and families all over the North.

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