By Sara Baldwin Auck, director of the regulatory program at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council
Jacqui Patterson’s impressive credentials and depth of experience echo throughout numerous diverse sectors—from health care and women’s rights to clean energy and climate. She has a contagious passion for aligning the issues of social justice with environmental quality, climate justice and economic prosperity. Most notably, she is committed to ensuring that the clean energy movement brings real opportunities and benefits for people of color and frontline communities—namely, those most negatively impacted by the burning of fossil fuels and industrial pollution. As the director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, Jacqui’s team supports community leadership across the country to reduce harmful emissions, particularly greenhouse gases; advance energy efficiency and clean energy and strengthen community resilience and livability.
Recently, I was honored to participate in the NAACP’s Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector Initiative Launch Summit—a landmark event in which voices from the environmental justice, social justice, clean energy, green building, architecture, political and financial sectors gathered to address the imperative for a more holistic approach to the buildings in which we live, work and play. I witnessed firsthand Jacqui’s ability to convene an impressive group of diverse thought-leaders and advocates and compel commitments to action.
This launch event is the first step to developing an expanded set of equity measures for green buildings, including, but not limited to: expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities to benefit people living in multifamily and affordable housing; scaling the financial tools and successful policies to support more clean energy deployment for the benefit of frontline communities and ensuring the green building sector is creating jobs and educational opportunities for people and communities of color.
By addressing the imperative that our buildings not only contribute to environmental, climate and clean energy objectives, but also improve the health, equity and prosperity for all people, Jacqui is clearly an innovator in the clean energy space.