Jessica Miller, IMT Specialist for Public-Private Strategy and Engagement, shares why cross-sector collaboration is key to achieving national and local climate and building energy reduction goals.
What do you value most about building energy efficiency and high-performance buildings?
I first got into this field out of an interest in architectural history. I love cities and have been living and working in cities for over half my life, and I’m also motivated to do work that has a direct contribution toward the fight against climate change. In large cities today, buildings are often responsible for between 70-80% of greenhouse gas emissions. This means buildings are a critically important pathway to make change happen. In addition, the built environment is where so much of our lives happen, so improving our buildings is about much more than just saving energy: It’s about creating better, healthier, and safer environments for people to live, work, and play.
What perspective do you bring to IMT?
Prior to joining IMT, I worked for Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit that designs and implements energy efficiency services in underserved communities with a focus on low-income multifamily housing. Ensuring that the owners, operators, and residents of affordable housing can access the benefits of energy efficiency programs and services is critically important both to reach our climate goals and to preserve affordable, resilient housing in our cities.
In addition to my experience working closely with the affordable multifamily sector, I’ve been immersed in building-level energy and water efficiency work for the last decade. I am excited to use that technical knowledge to support my work at IMT.
How do you define “market transformation,” and how does your work at IMT contribute to that goal?
I think of market transformation the process in which forces converge to change business norms, hopefully toward the greater good. These forces can be a result of a new technology or service, as well as through policy intervention. Because my role at IMT sits at the intersection of the private and public sectors, my goal is to help identify mutually beneficial solutions that drive demand for high-performing buildings.
What does successful public-private collaboration look like?
Within the industries where IMT works, success is creating policies and programs that work for both public and private sector stakeholders and move energy goals forward. We want to support our partners to work within their communities to develop outcomes that are locally informed, relevant, and successful in reducing energy use. At the same time, we want to leverage national networks to help shift the market faster. It’s a tricky but important balance to try to work locally and nationally in parallel, and that requires successful collaboration across sectors.
What are you hoping to learn in 2019?
I’m excited to learn more about the city policy landscape across the United States and explore how best to support cities as they continue their important leadership on meeting international climate goals. The recent adoption of building performance policies in New York City and the District of Columbia makes this a really exciting time to be doing this work, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of ripple effects those policies will have nationally.