Jane Kruse

Jane is the co-founder and current director of the Nordic Folkecenter, a showcase for passive house buildings, LED light projects, solar cooking, electric transportation solutions, domestic waste water treatment and recycling, and many other things.

Jane Kruse

Nominated by: Lise Nielson, Nordic Energy Research


Jane has worked at Nordic Folkecenter since its inception in 1983. She has been the director for the last 6 years, since her husband and co-founder Preben Maegaard got ill and then sadly passed away last year.

As daily leader and headmaster Jane performs very varied duties. She has been responsible for the green transition of daily life at the Folkecenter. Any day during the year the Folkecenter is the home for 6-12-25 people, some live there permanently, some are trainees or exchange students for periods of 2-6 months, and some are visitors for week-long courses. All of them are subject to the greener living style. The Folkecenter is a showcase for passive house buildings, LED light projects in African off-grid living, solar cooking, electric transportation solutions, domestic waste water treatment and recycling, hydroponics and aquaponics, indoor food growing, and many other projects on a daily life basis. The people who live at or visit Folkecenter get to experience first hand how energy efficiency is not that hard – it is a question of choosing technological focus and then fit to daily life routines. And it is not that hard, but seeing is believing. Jane is the storyteller for visitors. She gives the tours and adds all the hard facts, performance data, costs, seasonal limitations for solar cooking in the Nordics, she invites the visitors to ask detailed questions and then think if they could go home and do the same. Jane is the inspiration for many private citizens as well as business owners to start their own green change. For Jane, energy efficiency is forever young and in style.

It is under Jane’s leadership that Nordic Folkecenter has navigated the financial crisis years, and today is a well managed institution with 5000 visitors annually.


Through the years Jane has helped shape Nordisk Folkecenter as a Living Lab. And Jane has been the daily operator for all guests, students and visitors. On the grounds today, visitors can experience several types of passive houses: external retrofitted building skins (think a glass encasing of the old house); passive solar heated straw bale house; modern one-family passive house with no need for heating or cooling; a conference building with several types of passive and active solar energy solutions for heating, cooling and ventilation; a tiny house in 100% sustainable materials; an Africa house with LED lighting to allow the experience of an off-grid life. The Folkecenter is a Living Lab for greener living, passive energy solutions, active energy solutions, waste management and sharing of resources. It is not a commune, it’s a showcase and a work place with the option to spend a few nights and try the quality of life with less energy consumtion – with the awareness of the energy consumption.

Jane has put her background as a school teacher to good use. She uses her personal style to invite people to see how a green transition life can be lived, with little loss of comfort. Jane has initiated teaching lessons on a daily basis for the trainees, and also offers learning experiences for visitors to find their own path towards green. Jane has shown that energy efficiency is a path of patience and of building resilience into daily life. This lesson could not be given at a more opportune time.


  • Most visited member of State of Green, outside the Copenhagen area. More than 5000 international visitors annually adds up to an extensive impact in Denmark and abroad. People take home the initiation of change for less energy consumption, more renewable energy in the local environment, ideas for practical solutions. Jane meets and greets every visitor, and gives talks on living energy efficient.
  • 500+ students and trainees have interned at Nordic Folkecenter over the years. They stay for several months while completing their university thesis work, and return to all corners of the World to deliver a life in support of wind power, solar power, wave energy, energy efficiency and living in awareness of a low carbon footprint. Jane is the headmaster of this programme, she provides the daily planning as well as organises the tutoring of each student.
  • 4 Folkecenters exist – in Denmark, in Chile, in Uganda and in Mali. The Chile, Uganda and Mali Folkecenters focus on local training and education to optimise the local energy use, through microgrids, solar PV and LED lighting and a strict energy consumption planning that is developed with the full involvement of the specific village population. While Mr Preben Maegaard was the powerhouse behind this work, Jane Kruse has been the second in command for almost 40 years, and the last 6 of these years she has been the director of the Nordic Folkecenter and the contact point for the continued cooperation with the 3 others. Jane works tirelessly to provide funding and project framework for the very vital cooperation projects that aim to bring light, potable water, electricity and the education to become a village technician to remote villages.


Jane Kruse has been a constant in the Danish green transition and energy efficiency landscape for 40+ years. She is a daily inspiration to all students and visitors of the Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy, and she has proven that such a living lab can be operated on a long term basis, continously adding more challenges to improve the lifestye and the technical options for a low carbon footprint life.

Curious to find out if Jane will be the winner of the Roger Léron Award 2022?