- Buildings Guide
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Capacity building measures for workforce in the building sector (architects, planners, developers, building contractors, installation contractors, facility managers, real estate agents and other intermediaries) aim to provide actors with the relevant knowledge and skills in order that they:
a) have knowledge on the status-quo of designing, building, retrofitting, operating, monitoring and assessing low-energy and ultra-low-energy buildings, as well as the corresponding policy framework and market;
b) can correctly and convincingly inform investors, building owners and tenants about the cost-effectiveness and other benefits of such buildings or of energy-efficient retrofits.
Capacity building measures for public administrations responsible for urban development and construction on low energy buildings enhance their analytic capabilities required to develop effective policies on low energy buildings and to assess project feasibility.
There is also a need to educate the general public on energy efficiency and its benefits, and thus increase demand for energy-efficient solutions. For more information on this please take a look at the element 'Provision of information'.
A lack of qualified workforce (e.g. architects, planners, developers, building contractors, installation contractors, facility managers, real estate agents) with sufficient knowledge and skills on energy saving construction techniques is regarded to be one of the major barriers to energy efficiency in buildings, even in most European countries (UNEP 2007; EC 2011). Besides, the fact that those involved in policy design are not equipped with awareness and knowledge about low energy buildings may limit the role of public policies to drive the development of building energy efficiency. Education and training is essential for overcoming these barriers, which aims to 1) provide workforce and policy makers knowledge on designing, constructing, operating, monitoring, and assessing low energy buildings as well as its policy framework and market; 2) enhance knowledge of public administrations responsible for urban development and construction on low energy buildings.
Many countries have already started to adapt their education and training systems to the current demand for low energy buildings and to respond to the lack of workforce. Activities include the creation of new curricular and adaptation of existing ones in lifelong training programmes, offering electives and postgraduate degrees in universities/colleges, short-term training programmes outside workplace, etc. (UNEP 2007; IEA 2010; BPIE 2011). In some countries, training programmes are developed to upgrade the skills of policy-makers on low energy buildings (ILO 2011).
Governments play a key role by either providing development of knowledge and skill on building energy efficiency issues through formal education and training systems or setting up new institutions, such as authorities, funds, commissions or working groups. On the other hand, since the public system may be slow in responding to the market demand, the involvement of social partners, such as industry associations and workers’ organizations, or public-and-private initiatives that provide more flexible and short-term specialized training is essential (ILO 2011).
Education and training increases the effectiveness of other policy instruments (Levine et al. 2012). Training contents should be linked to the requirements and energy performance specifications of other policies, particularly MEPS, Energy Performance Certificates, and financial incentive programmes. Certification of trained experts and workforce can enhance the visibility of the qualification to the public and thus the value of the training for those receiving it (explore the policy guide and see the bigEE document on Certification of qualified actors).
Evidence shows that training can have a very high leverage effect and can thus be very cost-effective, due to its creation of new business opportunities (EC 2011).
It is difficult to directly attribute energy savings achieved to education and training alone. No robust assessment of the impact of qualifying the workforce on the energy savings have so far been conducted.
Education and training aims to 1) provide workforce and policy makers with knowledge on designing, constructing, operating, monitoring, and assessing low energy buildings as well as its policy framework and market; 2) provide policy-makers, who are responsible for urban development and construction, with knowledge on low energy buildings.
Worldwide implementation status
Measures for education and training are implemented all over the world. It can be implemented at international, national and local level.
In France, FEEBat – a partnership between public organisations, professional associations, SMEs, and energy companies – has been established, which aims to train a workforce of 120,000 by 2020, mainly in the field of energy-efficient building retrofitting (ILO 2011). In Denmark, bachelor students in architectural technology and construction management can specialize in energy efficient sustainable design and construction by accomplishing electives or internship with 70 European credit transfer and accumulation system (ects) credits or completing a dissertation related to green building. Singapore’s Building and Construction authority offers a wide range of courses for workforce and students, varying from short add-on courses to a complete master programme on sustainable design (ILO 2011). In China, training programmes are developed to upgrade the skills of policy-makers responsible for urban development and construction of green building and sustainable development (ILO 2011).
At the EU level, the European Commission has launched the 'BUILD UP Skills: Sustainable Building Workforce Initiative' to support Member States in assessing their training needs, developing training strategies, and fostering effective training schemes (EU impacts assessment).
Internationally, the EU-sponsored Switch-Asia "Train the Trainers" programme aims to provide technical education for SME decision-makers on energy efficiency, building materials standards and installation techniques.
It can be implemented at international, national and local level.
The foci of education and training are energy-efficient buildings (achieving the levels of Low Energy Building, Ultra Low Energy Building, and Nearly Zero/Plus Energy Building) and technologies applied in the residential, commercial, public, and industrial sectors.
These actors obtain knowledge and skills on the current situation of designing, building, operating, monitoring, and assessing low-energy buildings as well as corresponding policy framework and the market. This will also be of benefit to their future career development.
For governmental actors policy design is a major factor affecting the adoption of energy efficiency options in buildings. A better understanding on low energy building and its cost-effectiveness helps policy makers to enhance their analytic capabilities required to develop effective policies on low energy building and to assess project feasibility (ILO 2011).
Education and training increases the effectiveness of other policy instruments (Levine et al. 2012). Training contents should be linked to the requirements and energy performance specifications of other policies, particularly MEPS, Energy Performance Certificates, energy advice and assistance during design and construction, and financial incentive programmes. If new policy instruments of building energy efficiency require knowledge and skills of workforce and public administration, they should sufficiently address how these required skills and knowledge will be sourced.
Supply of a sufficient number of qualified trainers and training facilities and a funding scheme to finance education and training are necessary for policy implementation.
Agencies or other actors responsible for implementation
At the strategic level, a working group with members from public administration, industry associations and workers’ organisations, and education institutions, can be established to assess the skill and training needs for building energy efficiency (EC 2011).
At the operational level, a sufficient number of qualified training and education providers prioritising building energy efficiency should be available.
Public funds should be contributed to study status-quo capabilities and skill needs of the workforce for national and regional construction sectors. In addition, public funds can be an essential source for the initial capital of establishing training programmes or facilities for building energy efficiency in universities/colleges or continuing education organisation (Goldman et al. 2010).
No specific test procedures are required for the education and training, but the existing test procedures for building and equipment energy consumption and efficiency are important subjects for the education and training.
An ex-ante study of the national or regional status-quo of skill needs and training gaps within the workforce to deliver low energy building projects and costs of training needs is essential before the policy design. The study should be conducted using a participatory approach involving stakeholders such as public administration, industry associations and workers’ organisations, and education institutions. Based on the ex-ante study, national and regional roadmaps and strategies for workforce education and training are developed (ILO 2011; EC 2011).
Before implementation, the concept for an education or training programme needs to be developed and cover, e.g. the funding, including fees from participants if any, the programme operator, the training facilities, the training content, curriculum, material, required qualification level of trainers, training of trainers, link to other policies and to certification of qualified actors, communication, and monitoring the success of the programme.
Education and training can have a quantified target, such as the number of workforce and programmes. However, it may not be feasible to set an energy saving target for education and training alone.
Co-operation of countries
Significant differences exist in the training capacity and in the development level of building energy efficiency among different countries, especially, between developed and developing countries. Thus, international co-operations that share best practices of education and training is essential. Besides, for countries where building energy efficiency is less developed and training capacity is lacking, international technical assistance and grant programmes that aim at training professionals in these countries and enable them to deliver building energy efficiency projects in their own country can have a high leverage effect.
As all other education and training programmes, evaluation of the programme effectiveness is an important step. Indicators to be monitored can include the number of trainings and participants, the number of participants passing tests required for certification of qualified actors, and the costs and income from fees.
However, it is difficult to evaluate energy savings solely based on the effectiveness of education and training programmes alone. Currently, no robust assessment of the impact of qualifying the workforce on the energy savings has yet been conducted (EC 2011).
Other sustainability aspects and environmental impacts can be a part of an education or training programme, e.g. health aspects, uses of other resources such as water and land. A good example is training or an education programme with a focus on green building technologies or sustainable building design.
Various co-benefits, e.g. health aspects, employee productivity, reduced maintenance costs, uses of other resources such as water and land, may arise from education and training programmes like green buildings and sustainable building design.
The following barriers are possible during the implementation of the policy:
The following measures can be undertaken to overcome the barriers:
Currently, no robust assessments of the impact of qualifying the workforce on the energy savings have been conducted. EC (2011) gives a conservative estimate that 10% of the energy saving potential in the EU building sector is dependant on the building workforce being fully skilled. Lack of skills also endangers compliance with policy requirements. The loss of energy savings due to an unskilled workforce would amount to 78Mt of CO2.
The costs of education and training varies significantly, depending on the programme content, time scale, number of workforce to be trained, form of training, etc.
In general, however, the costs are much lower than those of financial incentive or financing programmes.
Successful training provided to actors in the supply chain can create new business opportunities and have a very high leverage effect. For example, in an industrial energy efficiency training project in Europe (EUREM.NET project), public funding of € 0.7 million triggered investments of about € 90 million in the participating companies (EC 2011).
Furthermore, as education and training improves compliance with many other policies, it will increase the energy savings from those policies and thus improve the overall cost-effectiveness of the policy package. If, for instance, savings only increase by 10%, this can be worth several hundred million Euros or USD.
Try the following external libraries:
|Energy Efficiency Policy Database of the IEA|
|The Building Energy Efficiency Policies database (BEEP)|
|Clean Energy Info Portal - reegle|