Dr Heba Elsharkawy BSc, MSc, PhD, FHEA


+44 (0)29 2087 0217
T.05, Bute Building
Research group:
Architectural Science Group


Heba is co-leading the new MSc in Sustainable Mega Buildings. She is module leader for Sustainable Mega Building Overview, Sustainable Mega Building Design Project, and co-leading Sustainable Service Systems. She is also responsible for teaching in the Architectural Science Masters (ASM) programmes by leading core modules; Architectural Science Research and Dissertations. She is deputy PI for the Newton Institutional Links project with Egypt. She is responsible for supervising postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students in research related to the sustainable design of the built environment, energy policy, and sustainable energy consumption.

Heba is director of the annual international summer programme; Low Carbon Architecture Summer Programme (LCASP) at the WSA. The programme has raised significant interest internationally and generates very positive feedback from participants. She is actively involved in developing external networks and facilitating international outreach activities. She is coordinating the current collaborative agreement between Cardiff University and the British University in Dubai (BUiD). She is a member in Cardiff University Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT) and is a member in the WSA Athena SWAN SAT. She is also a member in the University Race Equality Charter Mark SAT.

Other information

Newton Institutional Links – 172727955
Sustainable Energy – Adaptable Lifelong Learning Centre (SE-ALL) – total grant 299,890GBP

After nearly four years of political turmoil, Egypt has been struggling to meet its energy demands with severe power shortages and frequent blackouts across the country causing major disruptions and health, safety and well-being implications. Egypt’s rapid urbanisation and economic growth calls for the urgent need to develop alternative power resources where demand is increasing at an estimated rate of 1,500 to 2,000MW/year. Electrical energy use in buildings in Egypt exceeds 43% of the total consumption of electricity, with an annual growth rate of 8.3%. Egypt’s current energy strategy is to increase the country’s share of new and renewable energy to 20% of the country’s energy mix by 2020 whilst reducing energy consumption by 5% by 2015 compared to average energy consumption. Strategic efforts to plan for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies (RET) are undertaken to drive the country’s environmental and socio-economic sustainable development hence social and political stability.

Egypt is rich in renewable energy resources. There is significant potential in harnessing hydro, solar and wind energy in many regions in the country, making this a viable option to achieve energy targets. The Government is undertaking reforms to engage private sector investment for renewable energy industry alongside initiating other major national development projects such as the Suez Canal Development. The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) is supporting major collaborative RET projects with international partners. Notably, for the RET systems to be effectually implemented and exploited academic and research institutions should provide appropriate education and training to stakeholders involved. The reform of the Egyptian educational system to adopt sustainable development as the cornerstone of sustainable energy and RET is fundamental. The SE-ALL project will draw on the experience of Cardiff University and the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) as the UK partner together with experienced partner institutions in Egypt who will reinforce the project with the required expertise in education, training and professional development for sustainable energy in the built environment.

Sustainable energy is a fundamental pillar for economic development in Egypt. The rapid growth of the country limits the resources required to meet its energy demand. The building industry is considered the largest energy-consuming sector that has direct impact on the national economy. Thus, the economic situation in Egypt necessitates identifying the available and alternative energy resources and integrating them to meet the sustainability agenda. Professional development in sustainable and renewable energy currently available in Egypt is limited compared to the rapid advancement worldwide. There is a lack of training that coordinates between stakeholders; researchers, academics and practitioners that aims to embed sustainable energy in the built environment.

The SE-ALL institutional link between Cardiff and Ain Shams Universities with the recognisable associate partners in Egypt, Housing and Building Research Centre, New and Renewable Energy Authority, and the Centre for Planning and Architectural Studies, will bridge the gap between the rapidly developing advancements in renewable energy technology (RET) research globally, the demanding professional development required in the design and construction labour market, and the national plans for Egypt’s economic development.

The aim of the project is to advance capacity in education, research, innovation, and exploitation of knowledge in state-of-the art RET from a holistic sustainable development approach as an influential initiative to meet energy demands in Egypt. SE-ALL research outputs will inform the blended training programmes offered as hands-on training sessions and online teaching and learning.

This holistic capacity-building approach aims to raise awareness, educate and train diverse target groups on cutting-edge strategies and best practice in integrating sustainable energy and mitigating energy consumption in the built environment. This will facilitate job opportunities for the benefit of vulnerable groups engaged by the bottom-up, building blocks methodology of the project.

Research interests

Heba’s genuine interest in sustainable design of the built environment has always been the underpinning concept for various research and teaching activities she has undertaken. She developed particular interest in sustainable planning and design of mega-buildings. This particular interest has been partially catalysed by the fact that the principles of designing in the context of climatic variations have been well advanced for the design of low-rise and medium-rise buildings but have yet to be developed for high-rise and large-scale buildings. Hence, the current environmental agenda and focus on sustainability raises the significance of sustainable mega-buildings, the main driver for launching the new MSc programme.

Heba’s research interests also lie in the area of energy policy and retrofit programmes globally and in the UK. She is interested in exploring people’s energy consumption behaviour and lifestyles and how policy programmes should be influenced by those factors.

Research activities
Heba received a successful Newton Institutional Links project, funded by the British Council (total grant 299,890 GBP) running until 2017.

Heba currently supervises 4 PhD students in the following topics: Approaches to Sky Court Design and Performance For High-Rise Buildings in Arid Regions, Project Management of Sustainable Urban Planning in the UAE, Reduced Energy Consumption in Kuwait.

Heba completed her PhD research project in partnership between the University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham Energy Partnership. In this research, ’before-and-after design’ survey design is set up to explore the associations between variables under study. The fieldwork survey was undertaken in one of the pilot CESP schemes currently under delivery in the Aspley area of Nottingham. Designed and executed in two survey phases, the first phase sought to understand residents’ attitudes and behaviour and explore how this related to home energy use and performance prior to extensive energy-related upgrades to their dwellings. The second survey phase sought to examine changes in users’ energy consumption behaviour and dwelling performance after their homes were upgraded to higher energy efficiency standards. This second phase also explored the possible reasons for any behavioural change depicted; whether it was due to policy uptake, information provided or means of communicating energy saving advice. The outcome was an examination of the likely impacts of the policy on energy consumption behaviour, together with investigating how implementing the policy could lead to the anticipated outcome.

Heba’s research experience expands with her participation in a number of research projects. She participated in the European Commission funded EDUCATE project (Environmental Design in University Curricula and Architectural Training in Europe), through the University of Nottingham as a partner.

Research supervisor

Main expertise

Energy policy and retrofit programmes, sustainable communities, sustainable urban development, passive design strategies, energy consumption behaviour.

Supervision experience

First supervisor to 4 PhD students
Second supervisor to 3 PhD students.

Additional supervision interests

Sustainable design and planning of high-rise and large-scale buildings.

Teaching profile

Heba has fourteen years of experience in teaching, academic research, and architectural practice. She has worked as a part time lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment in Nottingham Trent University, teaching Technology and Environment in Architecture to undergraduate students. Heba has also been leading workshops in Architectural Research Methods for postgraduate students in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham 2010-2012. She has also worked as a design studio tutor in the Design Communication Studio in the same department 2009-2012.

Modules currently taught:
Architectural Science Research (10 credits)
Sustainable Mega-Buildings Overview as a specialist module in MSc in Sustainable Mega Buildings (10 credits)
Sustainable Service Systems for Mega-Buildings as a specialist module in MSc in Sustainable Mega Buildings (20 credits)
Sustainable Mega-Buildings Design Project as a specialist module in MSc in Sustainable Mega Buildings (30 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)

Other modules previously taught at the WSA:
Earth and Society as a core module for ASM students and elective module for MSc Sustainable Energy & Environment, School of Engineering (10 credits)
Building Fabric as a core module for the ASM programme (10 credits)
Passive Design as a specialist module in MSc in Environmental Design in Buildings (10 credits)
Environmental Design Applications as a specialist module for MSc in Environmental Design in Buildings (10 credits)

PhD supervisor and MSc dissertation supervisor

Heba joined the Welsh School of Architecture as a Lecturer in May 2012. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and holds a PhD from the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, the University of Nottingham, UK. Heba holds an MSc and BSc degrees in Architectural Engineering. She has worked in practice in various projects as a registered architect in the Middle East and North Africa.