The Residential and Commercial/Public Sector accounted for approximately 43% of energy consumption in Ireland in 2009 (SEAI, 2010). Data from the Quarterly National Household Surveys (CSO, 2011) indicates that the number of people directly employed in the construction industry peaked at 269,900 in 2007 but has now declined to 109,900 in 2010. It has been estimated that 1,000,000 Irish houses will require retrofitting by 2020. This combined with a target to achieve a low carbon standard for new buildings by 2015 and minimum renewable energy supply requirements for buildings will mean those working in or entering the construction sector need new specific energy skills. The Build Up Skills for Ireland (BUSI) Consortium has brought together key players with Project Management, Education and Training, Consultation and Networking skills. The BUSI partners will be supported by a Steering Committee which includes Strategic Stakeholders e.g. Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources and others. The Roadmap will be developed following a robust consultation process with the relevant stakeholders.
Our built environment accounts for 37% of Ireland’s national emissions, the same as agriculture. Halving our emissions by 2030 is extremely challenging and will require significant investments in skills. The construction industry is facing labour and skills shortages, that need to be overcome to successfully decarbonise our built environment.
The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC), the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Laois-Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) and the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) are now working together to make sure we have the right skills to reach Ireland’s climate goals.
As part of the BUSI2030 initiative, they are developing a roadmap of key skills needed by building professionals and construction workers to decarbonise our built environment. The roadmap, which will be developed through extensive stakeholder engagement, will refine and refresh the “BUILD UP Skills – Ireland National Roadmap for Energy Training in Construction” published in 2014.
Considering emerging trends and new policy development, the new version of the roadmap will cover not only energy efficiency but also decarbonisation of heating and cooling, digitisation, the circular economy and embodied carbon emissions.
The target group of BUILD UP Skills QualiBuild is Craft Workers and Operatives in the Building Construction Sector. A core principle of the Irish Build Up Skills Roadmap is one of Quality Building. By focusing on quality buildings, of which low-energy buildings is a priority theme, this creates greater opportunities for the construction supply chain to take ownership of the issue. BUILD UP skills QualiBuild will address one of the main issues identified within the Irish Build Up Skills (BUSI) Roadmap i.e. all construction workers lack the core knowledge in relation to low energy buildings. This will be done by a) Developing a Foundation Energy Skills Programme for the target group b) Implementing a Train the Trainers programme to increase the knowledge and competency of trainers involved in construction training.