Envisage Deal Lets Noble Environmental Expand Ecor Production

In a move intended to boost the production of its Ecor-brand sustainable building materials, San Diego’s Noble Environmental Technologies (NET) has received an influx of capital from Envisage Equity, a private equity firm based in Newport Beach, CA.

The funding is part of a strategic partnership that NET and Envisage disclosed last week. The partners did not reveal financial terms, but NET appears to have raised at least $6 million from Envisage, according to a recent regulatory filing.

NET has been working over the past decade to commercialize a new “green” process for making structural building panels from recycled paper and cardboard. The cleantech company, founded by the San Diego sustainable design architect Robert Noble, worked with the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, WI, to develop a proprietary process for manufacturing its Ecor-brand materials without using petroleum-based resins, adhesives, or toxic chemicals.

Robert Noble

Robert Noble

CEO Noble says Ecor’s manufacturing process, unlike the production of most plywood and medium-density fiberboard panels, does not produce chemical pollutants  that can damage the environment.

In addition, Noble says, when using a power saw to “cut a piece of plywood or particle board, you’re inhaling particulates that are laden with chemicals.”

For the past couple of years, NET has been selling its Ecor composite panels to niche markets—primarily interior design firms, furniture makers, and other businesses that specialize in retail signage and displays, theatrical set design, and architectural décor.

“We’re not a commodity product,” Noble told me when he was setting up the company’s downtown office and … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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