Midwest Equitable Building Decarbonization Advocate

3 months ago
Full time role


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of ...

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Job Description


NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.


NRDC is seeking a Building Decarbonization Advocate to join the Midwest Region teams of the Climate & Clean Energy Program and Resilient Communities Division of the People and Communities Program, located in our Chicago office.

Position Summary

In the Midwest, the vast majority of homes rely on fossil fuels for space heating—higher than the national average—and as a result, emit massive amounts of CO2 and health-harming air pollution. Moving toward homes that rely on electric appliances instead of fossil fuels, and that are energy efficient, safe, healthy, and affordable, are priorities for NRDC’s buildings advocacy. The Midwest Equitable Building Decarbonization Advocate will advance these priorities, advocating for policies that will safeguard the climate and protect public health by cutting pollution from buildings, with an emphasis on electrification and energy efficiency, co-creating with community partners, and ensuring the building decarbonization transition delivers significant benefits for underserved households, including healthy, affordable homes, and reduced energy burden. The advocate will have an initial focus on Illinois and Michigan with the potential to expand engagement in other NRDC priority states in the Midwest.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Policy experience and a track record advocating for building decarbonization, clean energy, energy efficiency, and/or affordable housing;
  • Background working collaboratively and in a team-based setting with both internal and external partners;
  • Experience with community organizing and coalition work;
  • Experience prioritizing equity and justice in policy development and implementation;
  • The ability to represent NRDC in the media and other public forums with credibility and enthusiasm;
  • An interest in cultivating relationships with state and local officials, the executive branch, agencies and staff; and
  • A willingness to travel throughout the Midwest region, and elsewhere to advance policy goals.


  • Lead advocacy in the Midwest for state and local policies that advance the equitable decarbonization of buildings, with an emphasis on underserved communities and integrating utility and housing affordability priorities;
  • Advocate before Midwest energy, climate, and housing agencies, with a focus on city government and elected officials, state legislatures, the executive branch, and relevant state and local agencies/administrative offices (PUCs, state and city building departments, etc.);
  • Build durable partnerships with a network of allies that reach beyond the traditional environmental community, including with environmental justice, renter rights, and other community-based organizations;
  • Represent NRDC in broad coalitions of state and regional-based stakeholders, including grassroots (e.g., community groups, other environmental organizations, environmental justice and frontline groups, consumer advocates, affordable housing advocates), and grasstops (e.g., electric utilities, builders, labor, equipment manufacturers);
  • Conduct, lead and/or support research and analysis of Midwest-specific equitable building decarbonization and affordability feasibility assessments, equity assessments, case studies, and policy development;
  • Support equitable building decarbonization education campaigns, working with coalitions and partners, to educate the public, communities, and decision-makers on the benefits of building decarbonization in the Midwest;
  • Promote equitable building decarbonization in the media through blogs, issue papers, responding to media inquiries, and public speaking opportunities.
  • Collaborate with a cross-institutional team of programmatic, campaign, communications, public engagement, and policy experts at NRDC, to integrate and further the organization’s state, local, and federal policy priorities;
  • Be a central part of a strong and collegial team that is focused on collaboration, approaches advocacy with innovation and optimism, and is committed to using the full range of expertise within NRDC and among its partners to drive change.


  • At least 2-5 years’ work experience related to building decarbonization, utility regulation and/or energy and climate change policy;
  • A bachelor’s degree in a related discipline. A master’s degree is a plus, but demonstrated experience engaging in policy advocacy and advancing campaigns can substitute for graduate-level education;
  • Track record of success navigating diverse coalitions, building consensus on policy issues and driving toward equitable, positive outcomes within a team, in a coalition, and with other external partners;
  • Strong written and oral advocacy skills, including the ability to communicate technical and analytical information in a clear and persuasive manner in a variety of public forums and in the media;
  • Strong technical research, analytical and quantitative skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently with minimal supervision and collaboratively in a cross-functional group setting;
  • Demonstrated commitment to principles of and competency in equity and inclusion, including contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment;
  • A sense of mission and passion for public interest, environmental, and/or climate and energy justice advocacy.
  • Flexibility to travel within the Midwest, to NRDC’s regional offices, and to other U.S. locations as needed (approximately 30% of the time).
  • Commitment to NRDC’s values and mission.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.


We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.


We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. For this position, the salary is $83,500 to $95,000. Internal equity considerations will be reviewed before making a final offer.


Since March 2020, NRDC’s offices have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be associated with one of our offices, but until circumstances allow us to re-open, we will continue to support NRDCers with remote working arrangements.


As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.


To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.


If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.


For more about NRDC, visit

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of ...

View Company Profile