Washington, DC—The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named Nora Wang Esram as senior director for research and Lauren Ross as senior director for policy, bringing two leading energy efficiency experts to the organization’s executive team. The new members succeed Neal Elliott, who has transitioned to be a director emeritus, and Maggie Molina, who has accepted a position at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Filling Neal and Maggie’s shoes is near impossible, but we couldn’t be happier to have found candidates who are poised to aggressively scale up energy efficiency at a critical time in the climate crisis,” said ACEEE executive director Steven Nadel. “Lauren is a rising star who has embedded an equity focus across our organization’s work while rapidly building our programs. Nora is a veteran energy efficiency leader we’ve learned from year after year and who we are lucky to have joining us.”
Dr. Nora Wang Esram will join ACEEE from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she is a chief engineer and team lead. In more than a decade at PNNL, she has led numerous multi-disciplinary research teams to create groundbreaking technologies and strategies advancing energy efficiency. She created the first national building energy asset rating and a comprehensive energy audit and modeling tool—adopted by New York and other cities to support their building energy ordinances. She led a project to utilize smart in-home devices to transact energy with the electric grid and created a Healthy Buildings Initiative.
“We’ll never tackle the climate crisis if we don’t step up our energy efficiency efforts aggressively. ACEEE is leading the charge in developing solutions and I’m thrilled to join their team,” said Esram.
Dr. Lauren Ross joined ACEEE in 2014 and has served most recently as the director of its local policy program. She has led research on the intersection of energy efficiency, affordable housing, and local climate action planning. Ross launched ACEEE’s pioneering research on energy burdens. She has expanded the organization’s work on municipal policy and provided new resources to local policymakers, building relationships with officials, utilities, and community groups across the country.
“I’m incredibly excited to take on this elevated role and reinforce ACEEE’s commitment to inclusive clean energy solutions and affordability as we combat climate change,” said Ross.
The new appointments mark a major transition for ACEEE following the leadership of Elliot and Molina.
Dr. R. Neal Elliott joined ACEEE 27 years ago as founding director of the industry program and was most recently senior director for research. He has guided and overseen a wide range of research efforts, with a focus on industrial energy efficiency and decarbonization, combined heat and power, agriculture and rural energy efficiency programs, and state energy policies. He has testified before Congress, state legislatures, and regulatory bodies around the country. As a part-time director emeritus, Elliott will continue to contribute to ACEEE research and policy efforts on industrial decarbonization.
Maggie Molina has served at ACEEE for 15 years, most recently as senior director for policy. She created ACEEE’s seminal State Energy Efficiency Scorecard in 2007, guided the organization’s embrace of electrification, and led efficiency potential studies and stakeholder processes to help states develop new efficiency policies. She is joining the U.S. EPA as branch chief of the State and Local Energy and Environment Program in the Climate Protection and Partnerships Division, where she will lead efforts to provide critical tools, resources, and technical assistance for state and local policymakers.