Hadeel Salh, Sara Tariq and Fatima Fakhroo, architecture majors at the College of Engineering at Qatar University, started work on their Passive House as part of their degree course. When they heard about the Shell Ideas360 competition, they knew they had to enter, and take the idea even further. 

Sara said, “When we entered the competition, we didn’t know about the prize; we only knew that we couldn’t afford to miss out on the opportunity of sharing our plan with others.”

Entering the competition as a trio worked well, with a shared passion for architecture keeping them going. They also believe that the competition forced them to look at their idea and the business plan behind it in a completely different way. 

Together, the team set out to reduce energy consumption by designing a passive house, “in Qatar the climate is really hot, so we wanted to design a house where you wouldn’t necessarily need air conditioning and therefore save on energy consumption. The plan is to build a house in such a way that it’s oriented towards the north, avoiding the sun. Creating vertical openings to let out hot air and also changing the material in the walls allow more cool air to enter the house,” Hadeel explained. 

Team Passive House believes the highlight of the experience was travelling to the Netherlands for the final. “We started screaming when they told us we were in the top five,” Hadeel said. “It was unbelievable and none of us slept that night - we were too excited. We had so much fun in the Netherlands and enjoyed meeting the other teams, the judges and the Shell employees who were involved.”

From left to right: Hadeel Salh, Sara Tariq and Fatima Fakhroo

They also enjoyed presenting their idea to the panel of judges. Sara said: “The hardest part was the ten minutes before going into our final presentation, but as soon as we started talking to the judges, we felt okay. We believe in our idea and the fact that we had already made the top five gave us confidence”

“When the three of us left the presentation room, we were so happy and relieved! We felt a massive sense of accomplishment. It is definitely one of the happiest moments I’ve experienced.”

Talking about the biggest lesson they’ve learned, they agree that the experience increased their confidence levels. “We also learned not to give up,” Hadeel explained. “We really put a lot of work into our idea and sometimes it was a bit tricky to balance our course work with the competition work, but it was worth it. If you believe in yourself and work really hard, you’ll reap the benefits.”

The three friends are now in their last year at university and since the competition ended in May, they’ve had a well-deserved summer break. 

“But we’ll continue working on our idea this year,” Sara said. “We want to take it further and the experience during the competition was so valuable, we can’t give up now.”

Are you interested in entering Shell Ideas360? Entries are open now and the competition will take place in three stages.