Energy Hero: Martha Larson, campus energy management

August 15, 2017

Energy Heroes are the people who work tirelessly each day to help curb energy use to reduce carbon impact on the environment and increase their organization's savings. In this series, we highlight different Energy Heroes to both inspire you and impart useful best practices.

Who is Martha?

Martha is the Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability at Carleton College. She is a skilled musician and vocalist as well as a mechanical engineer by training. She was able to marry her love of music with her engineering chops early in her career by working on large acoustical engineering projects.

What’s her energy story?

Martha’s engineering projects exposed her to LEED building standards and she was struck by the massive impact energy has on the environmental profile of buildings. She was able to combine her interests in energy, buildings, and sustainability in her role at Carleton.

The main objectives of her role are just as the title says: energy management and sustainability. She not only manages Carleton’s energy programs and projects related to that, but also all aspects of campus sustainability.

What's she working on?

Carleton College has a lofty goal of making its campus carbon neutral by 2050. To get there, Martha leverages BuildingOS to uncover—and amend—energy usage anomalies. She shares insights across building maintenance teams, student teams, and operations leadership to ensure collaboration and effective budgeting. She estimates she saved $35,000 in the first few months of this year alone, which can be re-invested into the carbon neutral efforts.

Martha is currently implementing a five-year project to transition the campus steam system to a low temperature hot water heating system tied to three geothermal well fields. When combined with future additions of on-site renewable energy, the system is expected to decrease central plant operating costs and carbon emissions by over 35%.

What’s Martha’s inspiration?

An environmentalist at heart, she quickly realized she could put her engineering training to work to improve the carbon footprint of buildings—and that’s exactly what she was brought on to do at Carleton College.

Martha and other energy heroes are transforming energy management for their organizations. If you know someone who should be an Energy Hero or want to share your own story, contact us at

More Energy Heroes:

Ruby Tavernier, American University

Anna Klovstad, Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District