Aurora Sharrad

Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Executive Director & Vice President of Innovation for Green Building Alliance (GBA), a nonprofit organization that inspires the creation of healthy, high performing places for everyone by providing leadership that connects knowledge, transformative ideas, and collaborative action. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, GBA was founded in 1993, is one of the U.S.’s oldest regional green building organizations, and is a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) chapter.    

As GBA’s Executive Director, Dr. Sharrard leads the organization in achieving its mission while setting future visions and strategy. A GBA staff member since 2007, she continues to drive organizational innovation while advancing GBA’s strategic plan, programs, staff, and stakeholder relationships. A nationally recognized green building expert, she has served GBA under several titles, always providing innovative solutions, strategic thinking, and real world application.

During her GBA tenure, Dr. Sharrard most notably co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, wherein buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland aspire towards measured high performance of 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030, cementing Pittsburgh as a national leader in healthy and high performing places. She also provides broad and deep technical support to innumerable local green building projects, most notably the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes, and Lower Hill Redevelopment.  

Dr. Sharrard also created and implemented past GBA programs, including DASH and GBA’s Product Innovation Grant programs. DASH is the Database for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings—a evidence-based web tool that works to provide building industry professionals with building performance information that enables better decision-making about building design, construction, operations, and maintenance across the triple bottom line.  GBA’s Product Innovation Grants awarded $1.2 million to 24 recipients over 4 years to support the commercialization of innovative green building products.   

From 2008 through 2011, she was the convener of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI) – a collaborative partnership in the Pittsburgh region led by local nonprofit, government, business, and higher education institutions to reduce greenhouse gases through measurable actions; in this time, Dr. Sharrard led completion of two Pittsburgh Climate Action Plans and one citywide greenhouse gas inventory, while convening the Higher Education Climate Consortium. Aurora is still an integral PCI Partner, helping guide the third versions of Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gas inventory and climate action plan. 

Dr. Sharrard serves on the Board of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Board of Directors for Pittsburgh Green Innovators, the Advisory Team for the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, and the p4 Pittsburgh Measures Committee. Locally, she is also a Science and Engineering Ambassador for The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and on Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Alumni Advisory Council. Nationally, Aurora is engaged with the National Institute of Health’s Health in Buildings Roundtable. Dr. Sharrard also regularly peer reviews papers and projects for funders and academic journals – and has multiple academic and nonacademic publications of her own.

She holds a Master’s and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Green Design from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. She was a finalist for the 2015 Greater Pittsburgh Athena Young Professional Award and previously received the BusinessWomen First Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, the 40 Under 40 Pennsylvania Environmental Leaders Award, and the Recent Alumnus Award from Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. She is also an alumna of Leadership Pittsburgh and a LEED AP BD+C.

Dr. Sharrard lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Jesse and sons Angstrom and Faraday.  She loves breakfast, enjoys costumes, and looks forward to someday completing renovations on her 110-year-old house.

Mascaro Center

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

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