The City of New Orleans, LA is dedicated to reducing climate change impacts through ambitious policy and equitable municipal legislation. The FUSE Executive Fellow will partner with FUSE to develop and facilitate the approval of new energy use ordinances to benchmark, disclose, and reduce energy use in commercial buildings, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities and health benefits for New Orleans’s businesses and residents.

Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Across America, cities are working to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to create new, environmentally friendly economic opportunities that reduce climate risk and improve the long-term health and vitality of their residents. Building emissions make up the most significant percentage of any sector’s share of the City of New Orleans’ total GHG emissions, representing an enormous opportunity for improvement and investment. In the last 5 years, New Orleans has undertaken actions and policies to improve the energy efficiency of buildings through innovative and practical solutions that cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution. While state legislative restrictions prevent the City from taking regulatory actions to reduce the use of natural gas and its related emissions in private buildings, the City is committed to leading by example by improving energy use in city buildings and encouraging others to follow suit by sharing the economic and health benefits of ending fossil fuel use in buildings.

The City’s first comprehensive energy efficiency initiative spurred by their 2017 Climate Action Plan decreased overall energy use in City buildings by 23% from 2018-2021. To broaden the success the City had with its own facilities, the City launched a Downtown Energy Challenge to encourage large buildings to track their energy use, known as “benchmarking,” and take steps to reduce it. In its recently released updated 2022 Climate Action Plan (nola.gov/climate action), the City is setting a new goal to achieve an additional 17% reduction (40% cumulative) in overall City building energy use by 2030. To reduce energy use in large buildings not owned by the City, the Office of Resilience and Sustainability must conduct stakeholder engagement and work with the City Council to approve a benchmarking ordinance for commercial and multi-family building energy use and set building performance standards for those same buildings by the end 2024.

New Orleans will partner with FUSE Corps to help develop and facilitate the approval of a new ordinance to benchmark, disclose, and reduce energy use in commercial and multi-family buildings. The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct a listening tour to assess the current landscape, research successful legislation and program models, conduct stakeholder engagement to gather feedback on policy and program design, draft new energy policy legislation, and act as a liaison between the city, community stakeholders, consultants, and private partners to gain approval of the ordinance. This work will help New Orleans to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector while unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities and health benefits for its businesses and residents.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Beginning in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work with city, community, and private stakeholders to design, draft, and shepherd legislative approval of an administrative ordinance to reduce building energy use in New Orleans. Ultimately, this will help the City reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 through better building energy efficiency, which will also lower business operating cost, create accountability for energy use and building level emissions, and make buildings more comfortable, valuable, and healthier for all residents.

The Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a listening tour with relevant stakeholders such as the local real estate, architecture, and engineering community and peer cities to collect information about current and past efforts surrounding energy use policies and ordinances, policy dynamics, public-private partnerships, and community and business needs and perceptions. The Executive Fellow will center equity in this listening tour to identify strategies that will prioritize high-risk, historically disinvested communities who are most impacted by the negative effects of GHG emissions and climate change to date. The Executive Fellow will also research similar, successful programs, strategies, and legislative models from across the nation.

The Executive Fellow will use the collected information to assist City partners in crafting an energy benchmarking and transparency policy that would benefit local property owners, tenants, and the overall community. The Executive Fellow will then work to gain legislative approval of the new ordinance by the end of 2024, in accordance with goals set forth in the City’s 2022 Climate Action Plan. This will involve direct collaboration with city agencies, City Council, and public/private stakeholders, as well as engaging in consensus building with both allies and opponents of the draft ordinance to ensure its ultimate approval.

Once approved, the Executive Fellow will establish clear frameworks and mechanisms for implementing the ordinance, as well as tracking goals, programs, and policies resulting from it. The Executive Fellow will also work to establish clear strategies for long-term implementation, including identifying long-term funding opportunities and marketing/communication strategies to ensure sustainable implementation.

By April 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the current landscape- Conduct a listening tour to become familiar with the city’s current and prior energy use policies, needs, and efforts; engage with all relevant stakeholders, including other departments and public agencies, staff members, private business, and community members to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns with regard to energy use benchmarking; review other similar legislative actions to identify successful strategies.
  • Draft a new ordinance and shepherd its approval – Assist with developing a new energy use ordinance to benchmark, disclose, and reduce energy use in large private buildings; ensure community needs, perspectives, and equity for historically disinvested communities are centered in all strategies; engage with stakeholders to facilitate approval of the ordinance by the end of 2024; determine overall objectives and methodology for goal setting, evaluating, and reporting; identify funding opportunities and a communications plan for successful implementation.
  • Manage internal and external data – Through a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE), the Office of Resilience & Sustainability is working with national partners to assist and advise in this legislative process. Our partners may provide data analyses as part of the partnership, such as a building stock analysis. The fellow should feel comfortable interpreting and utilizing quantitative, qualitative, and geospatial data to make a case for policy and program design. The fellow will also gather, clean, and manage a database of buildings and provide technical assistance to building owners/managers required to comply with the benchmarking ordinance.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Greg Nichols, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, Office of Resilience and Sustainability, City of New Orleans, LA
  • Project Supervisor – Sophia Winston, Energy Policy & Program Manager, Office of Resilience and Sustainability, City of New Orleans, LA

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in energy and/or sustainability policy development and/or implementation, building operations and management, data analysis and management, and stakeholder engagement is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.