Craftsmen Training: pilot examples

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Within the ENERBUILD project, training measurements on craftsmen level were analyzed in eight regions in Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Slovenia. The results are shown here.

Craftsmen Training in Trento

In the province of Trento an integrated approach for the training of craftsmen, architects, technical building planners, building developers was developed and implemented from autumn 2010 to May 2011. In total 20 participants carried out 172 hours of training units , including team building activities and common workshops depending on different specializations:

  • 114 hours (around 14 days) architects and geometers
  • 102 hours (around 13 days) structural engineers
  • 106 hours (around 13 days) HVAC and electrical technicians
  • 74 hours (around 9 days) Craftsmen: house builders, carpenters, fenestration layers, plumbers, electricians

The training modules were based on the integration among different professionals, which is more and more required in energy-saving building construction. The training design was divided into different steps. In a first step the assessment of training needs (October 2009-June 2010) involving all main stakeholders (the local Association for Craftsmen and Small Entreprises was done.

The training group consisted of 10 designers (2 HVAC technicians, 2 electrical technicians, 2 structural engineers, 4 architects/geometers) and 10 craftsmen (2 house builders, 2 carpenters, 2 fenestration layers), already specialized in energy-saving techniques

The training activity was focussed on a three level integration:

  • inter-professional integration (intra designers and intra craftsmen): it concerned a higher exchange between architectural and plant designers / workers, one developing knowledge and practices of the other, and vice versa
  • inter-specialization integration (ex. plant designers and plumbers): it regards full comprehension of the underlying design principles and problem solving bound to operational process
  • common knowledge and skills (full teamwork integration).
  • actual scenario for energy-saving buildings and its key features both on a law- and politics-basis
  • roles and juridical responsibilities for designers and craftsmen
  • the competencies to be developed via teamwork (both technical and communicational skills)
  • 20 participants were divided into two teams (each formed by 5 Designers and 5 Craftsmen) and took part in workshop activities: both teams were asked to design and find operational solution to an old rural house to be reconstructed and provided with a wooden extension. They were given specific rules, various starting data, max. energy-consumption values etc. On the last course day (14th May 2011) each group presented its reconstruction project and the results of the integrated teamwork.
  • the final work session concerned integration-process evaluation and further actions to maximize the learning experience of the group and the acquired skills.

The course coordinator has followed the implementation of all training phases, supporting and tutoring the group and the teams. The learning process was constantly maximized and enriched by

  • written syntheses of learning summarized by the participants in each technical module (designers’ inter-professional integration)
  • written synthesis of debriefing meetings
  • written synthesis of final evaluation (integration concept and future vision of the participants

Craftsmen Training in Tyrol

In Austria in Tyrol as well as in Styria several special trainings called „International Certified Passive House Planer” have been implemented in 2010 and 2011. The demand for passive house technologies is on increase and members of the building industry are increasingly aware of this fact. The construction of passive houses requires a sound knowledge of the technology and the transfer of this knowledge is the intention of the Passive House Planner Course.

The course consists of 80 training units (10 training days) and covers the following areas:

  • The Passive House Standard – A foundation seminar
  • Passive House Planning Package (PHPP)
  • The Passive House Shell
  • Passive House Utilities
  • Ventilation - Practical Workshop
  • Introducing Passive Housing into existing buildings – Foundation seminar

Craftsmen training in Rhône-Alpes

The project partner RAEE focused its activities on the training for representatives of local authorities of Metropole Savoie, implemented in February 2011.

These trainings were the first sessions of a full training cycle in Savoie. The goal of these trainings were to aware representatives of local authorities of climate change generally, but in particular the need of building energy saving buildings with a great environmental quality.

The strategy of these training was first to train/aware representatives for increasing the demand in ESAP public buildings. In a further step the aim was to train technicians in these local authorities on how to write the call for tenders and how to follow all steps of the implementation of an ESAP building. In parallel, some conferences with local experts on ESAP buildings were created, targeting public representatives but also technicians, engineers and handcrafts.

Three-step-approach of training sessions

1. Presentation of the Association Savoyarde de Développement des Energies Renouvelables (ASDER) on

  • Impacts of climate changes in Savoie
  • Factor 4: signification for people living in Savoie
  • French law grenelle: new objectives and tools
  • New thermal regulation in 2012
  • ESAP: main targets, financial approach
  • ESAP: envelop and technical systems

2. The presentation was followed by a presentation from a local mayor who managed an operation of ESAP building (45 minutes)

3. This presentation was followed by some discussion and exchanges between participants, trainers and the mayor.

The training sessions with public representatives have been quite successful with more than 70 participants attending. It is planned to organize more sessions next autumn, with little changes in the general presentation. The trainings were very appreciated by the participants, specially the intervention of the local mayor. With this „testimony“ local representatives see that’s they are also able to build ESAP buildings.

Craftsmen Training in Upper Bavaria (Rosenheim)

The University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim did some training modules in the Traunstein region because the administrative district of Traunstein and its cities and municipalities want to invest into energy conservation in their buildings.

In October 2010, 42 employees of architecture offices and 35 employees of district municipalities took part in the two-day seminar, where hand-picked experts on „Building refurbishment“ gave lectures. Participants were welcomed by the district administrator Hermann Steinmaßl and the President of the University Professor Heinrich Köster.

In addition to the course „Energy and building technology“, various seminars were designed in the field of energy. These seminars are planned to be extended to the Planning Region South East Upper Bavaria, the members are the districts of Traunstein, Mühldorf, Altötting, Berchtesgaden and Rosenheim and the city of Rosenheim.

Craftsmen Training in Slovenia

A specific training session on „passive house and cultural heritage” mainly for architects and engineers was prepared by experts from the Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering Institute (ZRMK) in June 2010.

The Bovec house (Bovška hiša) is the most commonly used term for traditional house that is typical in the Bovec area. The basic elements and design constants of Bovec house are: the steep roof with even steeper ends at lateral sides, outlined and disproportionately raised roof with a large projection over the entrance facade, small projecting roofs over the other facades, lack of the „attic” wall, flat light-gray decking, balcony with stairs on the longitudinal entrance facade with direct entrance into the kitchen and small windows with side aspect ratio 2:3, which are aligned with the facade. The only traditional building materials are limestone and wood.

The ground floor was usually used as stables for sheep and upper for storing hay during winter. Aspect ratio between longitudinal and lateral side is from 2: 1 to 2.5: 1, back side of the ground floor is often full or halfdug into the slope, as house often stands on a tilted ground. Walls are strong and massive, made of stone, bonded with lime mortar and limestone moraine sand which is abundant in the area.

Energy design of the bovec house

In rural homes the awareness and knowledge of healthy and energy-efficient construction is clearly visible and because of hard climatic conditions in the mountains such awareness was a necessity. Southern slopes were populated first and many buildings are located just below the forest edge and still at the appropriate height above the river (in the thermal belt), so that in winter even in cloudy days, the climate is few degrees warmer than in the valley. The frontal side of the house with all the major openings is facing south towards the sun. The side facades usually have only one window, required for cross-lighting and ventilation. Such distribution of windows was useful also because the prevailing winds in the area are blowing from east to west and vice versa. Small wall surface with a single window was preventing unnecessary cooling of the house. People planted linden, maple, geek and walnut trees at side facades for extra protection.

Design of the training

The main focus of the training course was held on the construction of passive houses and in particular, on the advantages of such construction. Professor Martina Zbašnik Seneganik, PhD. from the Faculty of Architecture presented passive house as a standard and an imperative for construction in the near future. Since the main advantages of a passive house are particularly in low operating and maintenance costs and ecological contribution to the environment, as CO2 emissions are fifteen times lower than usual, passive house is gradually paving its way to Slovenia. Experts from the ZRMK institute, Silvija Kovi and Miha Praznik, presented a program PHPP 07 and the difference between the heating and ventilation systems in modern and classical buildings.

The event was attended by 50 participants and served as an introduction to the upcoming architectural competition (call for tenders), which was presented by the author of the call Mr. Mitja Skubin. One of the goals was certainly to consolidate the landscape image and preserve (as well as recreate) harmony in the environment.

Craftsmen Training in Alessandria

Alessandria: good practice example on craftsmen level

In the region of Alessandria a training module on „best construction techniques for energy efficiency in buildings” was developed and implemented in autumn 2010. In different courses 102 technicians, professionals, architects and surveyors got an overview on ESAP-technologies via practical lessons on energy saving, renewable energy and best practices. The aim was to enhance knowledge of best available techniques in the market in energy performance certificates, energy efficiency and renewable energies.

The first module focused on the following topics:

  • Analysis of energy certification In the
  • Energy certification: EU Directives, National Laws, Regional Laws
  • Basics of technical physics
  • Characteristics of the building envelope
  • Energy-efficient planning
  • Software applications
  • Practical examples

The second module focused on the following topics:

  • Glass Closing Systems
  • Foundation Thermal Insulation and Thermal Bridges
  • Roof Insulation
  • Façade Insulation

Teaching staff was composed of professionals and experts in the energy sector.

Craftsmen Training in Piemonte

actually the possibility of activating courses on passive house topics is seen interesting for associations, but not a priority. In fact market partners consider passive house standards not as common practice because of cultural, technical, economic and regulatory barriers present in the regional area. Piemonte legislation is actually not providing prescriptive limits as e.g. established by the Passive House Institute. Furthermore, there is not a market demand for the construction of passive houses. However, it is clear how the general interest for technology and plants adopted for passive houses is replicable even in buildings with lower energy efficiency standards. Concerning passive house, the topics about building envelope (opaque and transparent) and tools / techniques for the elimination of thermal bridges are of great interest for associations. Secondary interests are manifested in issues as ventilation system, and air leakage.

Therefore two specific training activities have been implemented:

a) a training on technical elements in passive houses

The intention of the training activity has been involved different professions (architects engineers, handcrafts apprentices) in the same course analyzing e technical aspects related to the design and realization of high performance thermal envelopes of thermal insulation. The course aims to analyze, through in-depth theoretical and practical elements, all aspects of the proper implementation of the housing thermal sizing, the resolution of thermal bridges, the installation of mechanical systems for the replacement of the air, heat fluxes between the interior and exterior and indoor quality of air. In total 80 participants (42,65%, architects, 32,35%, surveyors 2,94%, regional/municipal staff, 5,88% territorial agency 7,35, private 2,94%, handcrafts 5,88%) attended the trainings from 02-10 November 2011. The course has been developed in cooperation with Environment Park S.p.A., IPLA and Politecnic of Turin. It is planned to replicate the course by the Piedmont Region in early 2012.

b) Passive house – case studies

The workshop held on 27th November 2012 was attended by 30 participants and aiming to disseminate and to compare the last experiences in the construction of social housing characterized by high performances in terms of energy efficiency. The workshop compared some of the most significant experiences of public and private operators in the Alpine Space. The workshop has revealed the different strategies adopted both by funding bodies and operators, to realized passive houses, the performance achieved and costs incurred. In a perspective of exchange of good practices it was aimed to improve the quality of constructions, reduce construction costs and create innovation for companies operating in our territory.


ENERBUILD booklet 4.2.4 - Overview of ducation programs and vocational trainings for energy saving and producing buildings in the Alpine Space