Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Executive Director of Sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh, leading Pitt’s Office of Sustainability, cross-departmental sustainability staff, and University-wide sustainability strategy, activities, policies, collaborations, and partnerships. The Pitt Sustainability Plan guides these efforts with 61 sustainability goals at the intersection of equity, environment, and economics. Building on past progress and successes, Dr. Sharrard and her colleagues work daily across the spectrum of sustainability, including pursing carbon neutrality by 2037 as part of the Pitt Climate Action Plan, 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. In her time at GBA, Dr. Sharrard most notably co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which now boasts 550+ 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 in 2014 – and embraced 2030 Challenge goals University-wide with the Pitt Sustainability Plan in 2018. Dr. Sharrard also 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, including the University of Pittsburgh’s green buildings, Hazelwood Green, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and many others.
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, and Will Allen Foundation’s Board of Directors.