Minnesota is working hard to create more affordable housing. But if we build structures that are not super-efficient, residents will be saddled with high energy bills—and we will miss an opportunity to improve our built environment, a top source of carbon emissions in the state. Now more than ever the topic of affordable housing has become even more critical.
In July 2020, Fresh Energy hosted conversations with Minnesota thought leaders and Fresh Energy staff about how super-efficient buildings can become the new normal in equitable affordable housing. This is the final episode in the four-part series featuring a discussion with Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester, Minnesota.
With the increased attention on affordable housing in this current crisis, we know that the conversation has only just begun and it’s crucial that energy efficiency be part of the equation. We must build new affordable housing that is so energy efficient it can be heated and cooled with small amounts of renewable electricity. It makes economic sense, it improves indoor air quality, and it also dramatically reduces carbon emissions.
We have the know-how to build super-efficient housing that is affordable over the long term. Why isn’t all new housing built that way, and how can we do better? Fresh Energy is bringing people together from diverse areas of the affordable housing arena to explore this issue.
Thank you to Stoel Rives LLP for sponsoring this event.
Meet the Speakers
Kim Norton has been the Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota, since 2018 and represented the area in the Minnesota House of Representatives for 10 years. Kim won a 2016 Bush Fellowship, which allowed her to complete a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs focused on energy policy and leadership. She has a strong commitment to ensuring that Rochester’s Destination Medical Center and many other new developments are super-efficient and is partnering with more than 20 Minnesota cities on a policy to allow cities the option of adopting a standard that is more ambitious than the current state energy code.
Justin Fay is Fresh Energy’s director of government affairs and joined our team in November of 2018. Previously, he was the Senior Chapter Representative from 2009 to 2018 for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. Prior to that, he worked as the Field Director for the campaign to pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, and has held a variety of legislative and policy roles, including with the Nature Conservancy and the Campaign for Conservation. Justin leads our work with public agencies and policymakers at the state and local levels, and work to ensure that Fresh Energy’s policy and technical expertise is consistently available to key leaders in Minnesota. He strongly values our fact-based, professional approach to solving complex public problems. Justin obtained a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He also completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota in Morris. Justin enjoys traveling, catching baseball games, and when at home, getting bossed around by his family’s three cats.
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