Fresh Energy’s Buildings Department grows its capacity

By |

Get to know the newest additions to the Fresh Energy Team!

Buildings are a top source of carbon pollution—both globally and in Minnesota—contributing 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. And while Minnesota’s electricity and transportation sectors are getting cleaner, pollution from buildings is increasing every year.

Fresh Energy’s Buildings department was established in 2022 to help cut carbon pollution from buildings in Minnesota. Our work focuses on equitable, climate-friendly policies to decrease our reliance on fossil gas used in buildings and to build cleaner, more efficient buildings.

Fresh Energy is thrilled to grow our capacity to achieve this work by welcoming two new additions to the Buildings team. Dr. Curtis Nordgaard brings a deep understanding of the fossil gas system and its impact on human health. Larry Kotewa brings his building science expertise to ensure building codes are built to be climate- and human-friendly. Join us in welcoming Curt and Larry and get to know more about them below!

Introducing Curt

Dr. Curtis Nordgaard is a pediatrician at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis and a fossil gas and health consultant. He has published studies on the composition of fossil gas and the air quality impacts of fossil gas infrastructure and is frequently interviewed on the subject by major media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal. As a practicing physician with a deep understanding of fossil gas and its health risks, Curt has warned that gas stove emissions like nitrogen dioxide can trigger asthma symptoms in people, especially children and older adults that are more vulnerable to it.

In his role at Fresh Energy, Curt provides technical support to the Buildings team as we grow public understanding of how Minnesota’s fossil gas system impacts both the climate and human health, and how transitioning away from that system can have climate, economic, and health benefits in the future.

Introducing Larry

Larry Kotewa is an engineer and consultant working with Fresh Energy to engage in the Model Code Development Committee with the International Codes Council (ICC). This is one of the two model energy codes that is developed in the U.S. and sets building standards that states like Minnesota can adopt. Larry is the chair of two Standards Committees that oversee electricity and fossil gas.

Larry brings deep technical expertise to the table, thanks to his role as Chief Engineer at Elevate, a nonprofit that designs and implements efficiency programs to lower costs, address climate change, and create equitable solutions. In addition to overseeing Elevate’s engineering work, he has provided services to programs in energy efficiency and demand response, as well as smart grid and dynamic electricity pricing initiatives. We look forward to working with Larry to help Fresh Energy pull the highest levers when it comes to improving building codes for health, savings, and the climate.

What’s Next

Fresh Energy’s work advancing equitable solutions to achieve deep decarbonization in the buildings sector requires action at the local, state, and regional levels. By cutting carbon emissions from our buildings, we will improve health outcomes, create new business opportunities and jobs, help our state meet its climate goals, and reduce costs for Minnesotans over the long term.

Fresh Energy’s staff is essential to achieving our ambitious decarbonization goals. We are pleased to welcome Curt and Larry to the team and continue building an equitable and just clean energy and climate movement in Minnesota and the Midwest. Stay tuned—more details from Curt and Larry to come!