Chris Desjardins, an advocate for energy efficiency, was an engineer at Pella Corp. for 23 years before his sudden death in 2009.

Chris Desjardins, who was an engineer at Pella Corp. for 23 years, died suddenly at age 47 on May 5, 2009. He is remembered as being passionate about energy efficiency and that legacy lives on through a new renewable energy project funded by Desjardins’ estate. The new project is designed to help encourage Iowans to use renewable energy, specifically wind and solar power in their homes.

Desjardins left a generous gift from an insurance policy to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) for the creation of a renewable energy project. The Chris Desjardins Memorial Fund fueled the seed money for IDNR’s largest renewable energy project, together with additional funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, IJOBS, and the Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund.

Honoring the family’s wishes, Chris’ older brother Pete Desjardins championed the Desjardins Renewable Project taking a vague idea and turning it into a statewide pilot program. Its aim is to give Iowans first-hand experience with the power of renewable energy by creating seven working solar- and wind-powered building projects at several Iowa state parks.

Chris worked for Pella in Iowa during his career, though at the time of his death was living in Tennessee, working as an engineering manager for the company’s Murray, Ky., manufacturing operations.

“Chris was a prize jewel that you wanted to have on your team,” says Jim Meyer, vice president of operations at Pella and longtime colleague. “Chris lived Pella Windows and Doors. He was his own guy. He did it his own way. He wasn’t afraid to have confidence in who he was.”

A portion of the Chris Desjardins Memorial Fund is being set aside as seed money to attract future renewable energy grants. Those who wish to adopt this pursuit or contribute further can contact The Iowa Department of Natural Resources  or Pete Desjardins at


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