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Nina Baird - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Nina Baird

Assistant Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Nina Baird's research includes work in district geothermal systems, wastewater energy recovery, and energy-effective affordable housing.


Dr. Nina Baird, PhD, MSPH, is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the School of Architecture and Co-Chair of Carnegie Mellon’s Green Practices Committee. Nina’s courses explore the dynamic interactions between buildings and the environment. She challenges students to think creatively and critically about improving building performance to support environmental and human health. Her courses combine technical understanding and measured performance assessment with an eye towards new technologies and better integrated solutions.

At CMU, with its international student mix, Nina also engages students in consideration of the context of sustainability, based on location-specific factors such as natural resources, population density, climate, culture, and the pace of development. Her applied research includes work in district geothermal systems, wastewater energy recovery, and energy-effective affordable housing.

Nina came to CMU from a prior career as an environmental health consultant to federal agencies in Washington, DC. Throughout her career, she has been involved in community service and encourages students to be active advocates for and contributors to the world they want. Within Pittsburgh, Nina is involved in development of improved community energy infrastructure and provides consulting in high performance affordable housing. Within CMU’s Green Practices Committee, she is currently focusing on wastewater reclamation and reuse, and development of a campus water plan.

Nina holds a BA with honors in English from Amherst College, a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and both a Master of Science in Sustainable Design and a PhD in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Affordable Housing

Wastewater Energy Recovery

Human Health

Environmental Health

District Geothermal Systems

Energy Efficiency





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Industry Expertise (3)



Health and Wellness

Accomplishments (2)

Teaching Assistant Commendation (professional)

2007 Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Student Teaching Award (professional)

2009 Carnegie Mellon University

Education (4)

Carnegie Mellon University: M.S., Sustainable Design 2005

Carnegie Mellon University: Ph.D., Building Performance and Diagnostics 2015

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: M.S., Public Health 1992

Amherst College: B.A., English with Honors 1978

Affiliations (3)

  • Society of Building Science Educators
  • National Groundwater Association

Event Appearances (3)

Leveraging the Building Code for High Performance Multifamily Affordable Housing

National Energy Codes Conference  


CHP and Wastewater Reclamation & Reuse: Sustainable Infrastructure Options for CMU

Allegheny County Green Action Team  


Sustainable District Energy Options for Pittsburgh

Delivering Economic Resilience in the New Energy Paradigm  Harvard Business Review, Pittsburgh, PA


Articles (2)

Geothermal Conditioning: Critical Sources for Sustainability

Sustainable Built Environments

2020 Use of thermal energy in the earth or earth-coupled fluid as a heat source and heat-transfer reservoir for heating or cooling, without further conversion such as electric power generation

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Urban Energy Information Modeling: High-Fidelity Aggregated Building Simulation for District Energy Systems

Building Information Modeling: BIM in Current and Future Practice

2015 As pressure for new energy supplies grows, the inefficiency of centralized supply and conventional electricity generation seems increasingly extravagant. Better time-of-use management within centralized grids is one possible improvement; well-integrated district energy systems are another. A district energy system is a system that serves more than one building.

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