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Truly Affordable: How can super-efficient buildings become the new normal in equitable affordable housing?

April 2, 2020 @ 7:30 am - 9:30 am

$15 – $25

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. With increased attention on affordable housing we have the opportunity to do it right and 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 in an exciting breakfast event.

Who should attend: Community members, architects, developers, lenders, philanthropists, decision-leaders, health interests, practitioners, advocates, members of the public—everyone who cares about the future of affordable housing, and the built environment, in Minnesota.

Thursday, April 2, 2020, 7:30 – 9:30 AM CST

Midpointe Event Center
415 Pascal Street North
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Free parking is available in a surface lot adjacent to the building. Midpointe Event Center is conveniently located near the Green Line Snelling Ave Station and multiple bus routes along University and Snelling Avenues.

* Early Bird Tickets are available through March 19. * Ticket price includes program and full breakfast.

$15 Early Bird Fresh Energy donors/Government or Nonprofit employees/Students

$25 Early Bird General Admission

Everyone is welcome! Please contact Leigh Onkka at 651 726 7572 should you need assistance in covering the entry fee. Scholarship funds are available to help make sure this event is accessible to all.


Gina Ciganik is the Chief Executive Officer of the Healthy Building Network. In her previous role at HBN she established and led the HomeFree initiative, an expansion of HBN’s healthy materials work into the affordable housing sector. Prior to HBN, she was Vice President of Housing Development at a Minneapolis-St. Paul area affordable housing development organization, where she spent two decades creating thousands of healthy, affordable homes, including The Rose, a 90-unit apartment building that set a new national standard for healthy materials.

Mitra Jalali is the proud daughter of immigrants, a former classroom teacher, community organizer and policy aide who now represents Ward 4 on the St. Paul City Council. Her main priorities in office include addressing the affordable housing crisis, community-first public safety, action on climate, and building community wealth.

Kim Norton has been the Mayor of Rochester 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 a more ambitious than the current state energy code.

Elizabeth Turner is an architect and founder of Precipitate, a firm that responds to the pressing social, economic, and ecological justice issues of today through deep listening and engagement, leading to holistic design at the intersection of architecture, research, policy, and education. As Passive House Consultant, Elizabeth pioneered pre-certification of the Hook & Ladder development—the first large multi-family project to PHIUS+2015 standards in Climate Zone 6A. This project is considered a “testing zone” for the industry and a model for super-efficient structures.

If you have questions about the Power Panel or becoming a sponsor, contact Leigh Onkka at onkka@fresh-energy.org or 651 726 7572.


April 2, 2020
7:30 am - 9:30 am
$15 – $25


Fresh Energy


Midpointe Event Center
415 Pascal St N
Saint Paul, MN 55104 United States
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