Construction Northern Homes gets first project
Test could lead to more manufacturing

by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

NNSL (OCT 30/96) - A Northern home builder has seen the fruits of his labor blossom.

For the last six years Manuel Jorge of Northern Homes 3000 has spent hours developing a double-walled, stick-built, energy-efficient home.

This week the first home will be finished on-site in Dettah through a pilot-housing project with the NWT Housing Association.

"It's pretty exciting," Jorge said. "It's taken much longer than I thought. Like anything, you think it's going to be easier than it is."

His partner Laurence Nelson added: "Now we can understand a little of what a mother feels."

The project has a 1,064-square-foot home built in Northern Home's Kam Lake shop. It will be moved in sections to Dettah, where it will be put together - roof, siding and all.

The unique design of the walls and floor are what Jorge and Nelson hope will make the product successful. They are hoping the cost of the project comes in about the same as a regular stick-built house of the same size.

The double walls have a total thermal break and are insulated with styrofoam and spray-applied polyurethane foam. They are rated up to R36.

The floor system is insulated with the spray foam and built with trusses allowing room for electrical conduits and heating ducts. Plywood nailed on top of the trusses seals the system to an insulating value of R40.

And at one end of the floor is an insulated, water-proof section designed to fit a water tank built at Fibreglass North and accessible through a door on the side of the home.

"We worked to get it in production and set up this year so we can get an evaluation over the winter on fuel and power savings," said Nelson. "We'll see if they come close to our projected targets."

The pilot project was built by Northern Homes and Done Naawo Construction employees.

If everything falls into place for Northern Homes, Jorge and Nelson are hoping Canada Mortgage and Housing approves the concept.

"Once they accept it as a mortgageable home, we'll be able to go anywhere in Canada with it," Nelson said.

But even if that happens, Jorge and Nelson want to take the system into other Northern communities first.

"Once people build two or three, then the community should be able to put them together like Lego blocks," Nelson said.