Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Director of Sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh, tasked with enabling the Pitt Sustainability Plan, which formalizes decades of university-led and partnered initiatives at the intersection of equity, environment, and economics. In pursuit of the Plan’s 61 measurable goals, she leads Pitt’s Office of Sustainability, cross-departmental sustainability staff, and University-wide sustainability strategy, activities, policies, collaborations, and partnerships. Building on past progress and successes, Dr. Sharrard and her colleagues work daily across the spectrum of sustainability, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, providing access and opportunity to all, transparently communicating progress, and embedding a culture of sustainability into the University of Pittsburgh so that it’s a sustainability leader in every scale, from campus to international.
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 in advancing innovation in the built environment by empowering people to create environmentally, economically, and socially vibrant places. 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 most notably 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.
From 2007 forward, Dr. Sharrard led several GBA programs, including Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI), Pittsburgh Green Story, Product Innovation Grants, and DASH: Database for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings. A nationally recognized green building and sustainability expert, Dr. Sharrard has also provided strategic and technical support to innumerable regional green building and sustainability projects, inlcluding Hazelwood Green, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Dr. 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 serves on a number of boards and committees, including the Higher Education Climate Consortium, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services’ Board of Directors, Will Allen Foundation’s Board of Directors, the International Living Future Institute’s Pittsburgh Living Product Hub Advisory Council, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Sustainability Committee.