Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Director of Sustainability at the
University of Pittsburgh, tasked with enabling the University’s first Sustainability Plan, which was developed with the guidance of a broad-based committee of
faculty, staff, students, and administrators in accord with the University’s
strategic priorities. Formalizing decades
of green initiatives, the Pitt
Sustainability Plan outlines a host of measurable goals
including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, incorporating sustainability into
the curriculum, sharing progress publicly, and creating a culture of
sustainability on campus.
As such, Dr.
Sharrard leads the newly formed Office of Sustainability in support of University-wide
sustainability strategy, activities, policies, collaborations, and
partnerships. She builds on existing successes to position the University of
Pittsburgh as a sustainability leader at the city, state, regional, national,
and international scales.
Prior to joining
the University, Dr. Sharrard worked at Green Building Alliance (GBA) for 11
years, ultimately serving as its Executive Director. She led the nonprofit
organization in advancing innovation in the built environment by empowering
people to create environmentally, economically, and socially vibrant places. With a
staff of 14 and an annual budget ~$2 million, GBA is one of the oldest regional green building and organizations in the
United States, with a focus on innovative,
evidence-based, and collaborative work throughout Western Pennsylvania.
In her time at GBA, Dr.
Sharrard co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which boasts 500+ buildings aspiring towards measured high performance of 50% reductions in
energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030. The University of Pittsburgh was a Founding
Property Partner of the Pittsburgh 2030 District’s Oakland boundary – and
embraced 2030 Challenge goals University-wide with the Pitt Sustainability Plan. A
nationally recognized green building and sustainability expert, Dr. Sharrard has provided strategic and technical support to innumerable regional green
building and sustainability projects, most notably Hazelwood Green, the David
L. Lawrence Convention Center, and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Starting in 2007, Dr. Sharrard led several other
notable GBA programs, including the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI), Product
Innovation Grants, DASH, and Pittsburgh Green Story. Dr. Sharrard convened PCI
and the Higher Education Climate Consortium for a number of years, helping
deliver three Pittsburgh Climate Action Plans and two citywide greenhouse gas
inventory; she is still an active PCI Partner.
With GBA’s Product Innovation Grant program, Aurora led award of $1.2
million to 24 recipients working to commercialize innovative green building
products across Pennsylvania. Through 2012,
Aurora spearheaded the GBA-led national conversation to build DASH: Database
for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings. This evidence-based web tool worked 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. In 2017, Dr. Sharrard relaunched Pittsburgh
Green Story, a media-focused effort to promote the region’s sustainability achievements
Dr. Sharrard serves on the Southwestern
Pennsylvania Commission, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services’ Board of
Directors, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s Advisory Team, the
International Living Future Institute’s Pittsburgh Living Product Hub Advisory
Council, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Community
& Sustainability Committee. She still finds time to peer review papers for academic
journals and has multiple academic and nonacademic publications of her own.
Dr. Aurora Sharrard 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 has
previously been recognized with the Pittsburgh Magazine 40 Under 40 Award, Pittsburgh
Business Times Women in Energy Award and BusinessWomen First Award, and 40
Under 40 Pennsylvania Environmental Leaders Award. Dr. Sharrard was also a finalist for the
Greater Pittsburgh Athena Young Professional Award and is an alumna of
Leadership Pittsburgh. She is a LEED AP
(BD+C) and is Living Future Accredited (LFA).
Aurora 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 113-year-old house.