RAY Clean Energy Diversity Fellow: Carbon-Free Buildings Program (PEO)

POSITION TITLE: RAY Clean Energy Diversity Fellow           

DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM: Carbon-Free Buildings Program                                

REPORTS TO: Raghuram Sunnam, Manager         

STATUS: Regular, Full-Time                             

LOCATION: Basalt, CO; Boulder, CO; Oakland, CA              


Inspired by efforts to increase racial diversity in Clean Energy, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Clean Energy Diversity Fellowship Program aims to increase and facilitate Clean Energy-related career pathways for emerging leaders of color. The RAY Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship designed to equip recent college graduates with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in the Clean Energy sector—one that, in our visions of the future, fully represents, includes, and is led by the diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences of the United States.


Rocky Mountain Institute transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. That is our mission. That is our passion. And every day, every member of our team of nearly 280 works relentlessly to achieve it. We are driving the global energy transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables by working in partnership with businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to advance market-based solutions. We achieve this by developing breakthrough ideas, testing and refining them, reshaping markets, and bringing solutions to scale. RMI is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an annual budget of $70 million and offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing, China.    

The successful candidate will support RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings (CFB) Program. The CFB program is focused on reducing carbon emissions from the global building stock by 50% by 2030 to enable economy-wide decarbonization consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The CFB program pursues independent research and partnerships with building owners, policymakers, utilities, advocacy organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders to realize innovations in carbon-free buildings that can contribute to this overarching goal. 


RMI is seeking exceptional candidates to fill a position within our CFB Portfolio Energy Optimization (PEO) initiative, which is creating a disruptive and scalable approach to commercial building retrofits that have been left behind by the traditional retrofit approach. The PEO team is focused on developing a mass-customized approach to identify zero-carbon retrofit packages and evaluate their financial return from the perspective of the building owner. Learn more about our work here: https://rmi.org/our-work/buildings/commercial-portfolio-energy-optimizat...

We are seeking candidates with strong analytics skills interested in building energy simulation and computer programming expertise. The role focuses on supporting the PEO team to complete portfolio analysis projects and assist with continued development of the software tool. Daily tasks will include working with energy models, research, entering client data into the tool, and synthesizing results.

We look for aptitude at solving challenging problems, thinking in numbers, and working in groups. We expect self-motivation, curiosity, creativity, the ability to drive oneself and others toward meaningful results, and a passion for making the world better. The Fellow will be an independent contributor who works closely with a core group of colleagues on specific projects under the direction of senior staff, as well as across the broader CFB team. 


The Fellow will support projects that ultimately seek to bring carbon-free electricity resources to scale within the geographies we work in. Specific responsibilities will include: 

Tool Development:

  • Refine and troubleshoot EnergyPlus simulations.
  • Ongoing development of Ruby and Python code to automate energy simulation and quality control.
  • Research and develop data collection approaches, such as accessing public data through APIs.
  • Expand capability, such as new HVAC systems, automated quality control procedures, capital planning, and statistical analysis.
  • Expand our database of building attributes.
  • Research new measures and integrate into tool.

Project Execution:

  • Self-manage tasks to budget and timeline.
  • Collect and organize client and public data and enter the data into the PEO tool to support pilot projects.
  • Coordinate with clients and sub-contractors to execute pilot projects.
  • Synthesize and present results to clients.
  • Support RMI efforts to demonstrate, replicate and communicate the success of projects to industry and donor audiences.


In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:

  • Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.
  • Attending monthly check-ins calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).
  • Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.
  • Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills.
  • Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.
  • Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.


Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

  • Come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in Clean Energy and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Be less than 1 years out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2021 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).
  • Have not had a full-time job in Clean Energy.
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.


  • A college degree by the time of employment, preferably with degrees and study in the following fields: engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil, energy), business (marketing, finance, international), computer science, mathematics, architecture, physical and social sciences.
  • An interest in the field of Clean Energy.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience with designing, building, and maintaining models (e.g., Excel). 
  • Experience with building energy modeling (e.g. EnergyPlus) and/or computer programming preferred, but not required.
  • Understanding of basic financial analysis and metrics (e.g., NPV, cash flows). 
  • Ability to stick with a problem until a solution is found, but knowledge of when to ask for help. 
  • Ability to be self-motivated and work independently. 
  • Ability to listen actively, be diplomatic, and share knowledge and information clearly. 
  • Willingness to plunge into unfamiliar disciplines, and to take risks by exploring and testing new ideas. 
  • A passion for making the world better.


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2021.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by Rocky Mountain Institute, who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities.

We offer a comprehensive benefits package including: 

  • Medical, Dental, Vision Insurance 
  • 403b Retirement 
  • Life, AD&D, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability 
  • Parental Leave 
  • Commuter and Wellness Benefits 
  • Casual Work Environment 


To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

  1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply.
  2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a curriculum vitae or a resume, one essay, one visioning piece, short answer responses, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 26, 2021. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Program Coordinator, Charlie Espedido, via email at charlie@elpnet.org.

Rocky Mountain Institute is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Rocky Mountain Institute is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.