To make it simpler for homeowners to renovate their homes the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) proposes to develop with the main construction institutes a holistic energy efficiency accreditation programme for building professionals.
Pat Barry, IGBC CEO said that as many as one million Irish homes require upgrade work between now and 2050 if Ireland is to reach its climate targets.
“Building owners face multiple barriers to cut energy use from their buildings. For homeowners, getting the money to do an energy renovation is often the main problem. Yet, even for those who have access to the cash, they just don’t know where to start and who they should trust for advice”.
Mr Barry explained that building professionals are at the interface with property owners and well placed to advise them on energy efficiency at key points in time.
“A lack of skills in the industry can lead to poor advice, poor quality work and ultimately to a general loss of confidence in energy renovation. The last thing we need is badly designed and implemented work which gives the whole industry a bad reputation”.
Pat Barry added that as the industry is picking up, it can be challenging for building professionals to find time to upskill.
Against this background, the Irish Green Building Council proposes to launch an energy efficiency accreditation framework to create demand for highly qualified building professionals.
The suggested framework offers a number of key features, including:
- A holistic approach to renovation upskilling to ensure potential risks associated with deep retrofit and co-benefits of renovation, such as health and comfort are part of the picture.
- A flexible accredited pathway to upskilling to allow building professionals to easily identify the skills they are missing and how they can acquire them.
- A simple register of accredited professionals supported by SEAI and Ireland’s main construction institutes to build trust in the framework.
The recommendations emerged from a comprehensive consultation process with a wide range of almost 150 stakeholders. These include Ireland’s main building professional bodies, educational organisations, as well as industry and building users’ representatives.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Barry added: “The Recommendations published today represents an important commitment by the industry to upskill building professionals in energy renovation. However, the accreditation framework must be supported by government if it is to be recognised by consumers. A link to the register of accredited professionals could for instance be included in the BER advisory report. SEAI, Government agencies and local authorities could also mandate the use of accredited professionals as part of their funding applications”.
The “Recommendations for a user-friendly holistic energy efficiency accreditation for building professionals” was published as part of the Environmental Certification for Construction Professionals (ECCoPro) project. The project is partly funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
The full report can be downloaded here.