There is huge potential in the construction sector to reduce carbon emissions. With the introduction of the mandatory nZEB standard in 2020 and the Government’s ambitious plans to renovate half a million homes by 2030, there is an opportunity to make substantial energy savings and at the same time create employment opportunities across Ireland.
However, building nZEB homes and renovating homes to a high level of efficiency requires a particular set of skills. Both construction workers and professionals across the sector require training to deliver quality energy efficient homes.
Furthermore, there is a new emphasis on the circular economy and the need to focus on re-use, recycling and repurposing of construction materials. In addition, all new training needs to be considered in light of the digital economy and using BIM as a key tool in the design and construction of buildings.
The IGBC has is working on a number of initiatives to facilitate upskilling in energy skills, circularity and the digital economy.
We have partnered with a European consortium on the BUSLeague project to address and overcome the challenges of stimulating demand for an energy skilled workforce (demand side), along with the hands-on capacity building across the value chain (supply side).
BUSLeague aims to develop and implement a cross European recognition of energy skills, together with upscaling existing training methods and techniques. BUSLeague focusses on a blend of four elements: mutual recognition of energy skills, awareness raising, capacity building and legislative changes.
This is worked out in the following five specific qualitative objectives:
- To provide recognition of energy skills and qualifications in the construction sector.
- To build awareness to influence legislative changes that will stimulate and the demand for energy skills.
- To upscale use of successful training methods and techniques.
- To demonstrate increased demand and evidence-based proof of successful upskilling.
- To expand the BUSLeague at national and EU-level by developing and implementing a communication and replication strategy.
BUSLeague is an international project co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation (LC-SC3-2018-2019-2020 – Building a Low-Carbon, Climate Resilient Future: Secure, Clean, and Efficient Energy) under grant agreement No. 892894.
We are also partnering with an Irish consortium to create a digital learning platform for Ireland, namely The Digital Academy for Sustainable Built Environment (DASBE).
The DASBE will be a hub for the provision of upskilling, capacity building and education to the building sector on green construction, circular economy and digital skills. Providing programmes from Level 6 to Level 9 on the NFQ, it responds to the recognised need to upskill the building sector on a range of topics ranging from low energy buildings design to the application of Virtual Reality in building surveying.
DASBE will create a Digital Platform to enable learners to undertake a range of programmes ranging from micro-accreditation (including digital badges), Special Purpose Awards (Certificates), and Minor and Major awards focusing on specific topics, needs and requirements in the sector. DASBE will utilise a network of national and international experts in the sustainable building sector thus enabling access to international research drawn from DASBE network of collaborators. DASBE will also connect past, current and future R&D activities with education and training activities to ensure that participants and learners are exposed to leading expertise, knowledge and data with relevant fields.
These initiatives will build on our previous upskilling initiatives including the successful launch, in partnership with LIT and supported by SEAI, of the BUILD UP Skills Advisor app in 2020. This app enables building professionals and construction workers to identify energy renovation training courses that suit their needs in one click.
This work is overseen by the National Renovation Upskilling Committee (Reno-NUC) which was set up in 2019 to provide high-level strategic and policy input to support large scale upskilling of building professionals and construction workers. One of the key aims of the committed is to develop a user-friendly holistic energy efficiency accreditation system.