Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

PROF-TRAC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 649473
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.7.
Country: Netherlands
Domain: Industry

New platform delivers zero energy training resources

Building professionals can improve their energy efficiency skills using a new EU-funded online platform. Training materials are freely available to help architects, engineers and other professionals better design and build low energy constructions.
New platform delivers zero energy training resources
The PROF/TRAC (PROFessional multi-disciplinary TRAining and Continuing development in skills for NZEB principles) project has developed an open training platform that is both free to use and continuously updated. It includes a voluntary EU-level training and qualification scheme that can be adapted at the national level to suit specific needs, as well as information about the professional profiles needed to achieve Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB). The platform also offers free self-assessment tools for professionals to evaluate their skills and identify knowledge gaps, as well as train-the-trainer programmes and webinars.

“This is a training material repository,” explains PROF/TRAC project coordinator Dr Peter Op ‘t Veld from Huygen Installatie Adviseurs in the Netherlands. “Construction professionals can first use our methodology to map their skills and identify training gaps, and then select the materials that best suit them.” Completed in February 2018, the Platform is already being used by other EU-funded H2020 projects like BIMplement and TripleA-reno as a valuable training resource.

Upskilling professionals

The PROF/TRAC project was launched in 2015 to address the need for upskilling building professionals, such as architects and engineers, in zero energy construction and renovation. “PROF/TRAC came out of a previous project in which we developed educational material specifically targeted at encouraging interdisciplinary NZEB design,” explains Op ‘t Veld. “What were missing though were tools to encourage collaboration between so-called white-collar professionals, like architects and engineers.”

The project therefore sought to develop courses that bring together NZEB architectural principles with, for example, mechanical engineering challenges. To do this, the project team worked with three key European umbrella organisations: the Architectural Council of Europe (ACE); REHVA (representing engineers in building services); and Housing Europe, the European federation of public, cooperative & social housing. “For Housing Europe there was an acknowledgment that building managers should be trained and upskilled for the operational phase of zero-energy buildings, as well as in maintenance and procurement,” says Op ‘t Veld.

Addressing skills gaps

The project began by developing an effective methodology to map the professional skills needed for NZEB. This helped to identify gaps in skills and knowledge, which could then be bridged through the development of training programmes.

The project went on to develop European qualification schemes for professionals involved in NZEB. “This has been worked on throughout the project and was the final task to be completed,” says says Op ‘t Veld.

The project also carried out training sessions for teachers. “We took the approach of training the trainers rather than conducting large-scale sessions,” explains Op ‘t Veld. “The idea is that these trained experts can then design national courses and conduct training sessions on the national scale. These trainers will act as ambassadors of the PROF/TRAC project and can create a kind of snowball effect by initiating new training.”

Five training sessions were held in total with members of national chapters of the architectural and engineering umbrella organisations involved in PROF-TRAC. The first three face-to-face sessions successfully trained around 70 trainers from REHVA and ACE, who have since gone on to conduct a first round of national programmes, training around 900 people in six national pilots. A list of certified PROF/TRAC trainers and training organisations across Europe is available on the platform. A further two training sessions took the form of online webinars.

“The training materials and resources available on the PROF/TRAC platform will contribute towards reducing the skills mismatch for professionals and increase managerial capacity to support innovation and sustainable energy use in buildings,” concludes Op ‘t Veld.

Related information

Keywords

PROF/TRAC, construction, building, training, NZEB, energy, architects, engineers
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