2017: Member - Carl-Lars Engen

2017 Minnesota GreenCorps member Carl-Lars EngenAbout me. I grew up in southwest Minneapolis before attending Beloit College in southern Wisconsin. There, I studied Environmental Geology and was part of the school’s sustainability office. I first became interested in environmental issues at an early age when I produced a documentary on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. My curiosity soon grew to encompass the social, political, environmental, and economic sides of all the pressing sustainability challenges we face today. In my free time, I can often be found outside enjoying endurance sports such as running, cycling and Nordic skiing, or creating motion graphics and animations on my computer.

About my service. I am serving Hennepin County, continuing a previous Minnesota GreenCorps member’s work on a Commercial Building Energy Benchmarking Collaborative. This project aims to provide a framework for cities to adopt an energy benchmarking disclosure policy, like the city of Minneapolis has already done. Doing so will expand the cost savings and environmental benefits of benchmarking county-wide. I also work to find energy savings opportunities in Hennepin County buildings. This involves installing LED lighting and other efficient technologies, optimizing building system schedules, and engaging with employees about smart energy choices. Through this work, I hope to empower them to create a healthy, comfortable, and efficient work environment.

Why I serve. I believe every person has the right to clean air, water, and a healthy environment. Improving efficiency in our energy use is one small part in actually providing those things. I’m also interested in capturing lost economic value. Climate change comes with a huge price tag. While Minnesota is safe from hazards like hurricanes, higher temperatures, heavier rains and an increased freeze-thaw cycle shorten lifespans on our roads, bridges and other infrastructure, which fall to the taxpayers to replace. Energy efficiency can help ease this burden, mitigating the problem by burning fewer fossil fuels, and by saving money with electricity cost reductions.

My favorite place to visit in Minnesota. Any of the metro’s many bike trails.