Education programs in the Alpine Space

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Within the ENERBUILD project, education programs and vocational trainings were conducted. The goal was to facilitate know-how transfer and training of human resources through specialized courses, vocational trainings, excursions and the provision of teaching material in the field of planning and the construction of energy saving and producing buildings (ESAP buildings) in the alpine space. On the education programs and vocational trainings, a ENERBUILD booklet was released.

You can dowonload the full publication in pdf format here: Publication "Overview on education programs and vocational trainings for energy saving and producing buildings in the Alpine Space'"


by Norberg Gleirscher, Standortagentur Tirol

According to the actual European directive on energy performance of buildings these are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of EU CO2 emissions. Energy performance of buildings is perceived a key to achieve the EU Climate & Energy objectives, namely the reduction of a 20% of the Greenhouse gases emissions by 2020 and a 20% energy savings by 2020. Improving the energy performance of buildings is a cost-effective way of fighting against climate change and improving energy security, while also creating job opportunities, particularly in the building sector.

Progress can begin immediately because knowledge and technology exist today to slash the energy buildings use, while at the same time improving levels of comfort. Behavioural, organizational and financial barriers stand in the way of immediate action and different approaches can help overcome them.

One way of transforming behaviour is seen by changing behaviour by educating and motivating the professionals involved in building transactions to alter their course toward improved energy efficiency in buildings.

Importance of education and training according the planning and construction of ESAP buildings in the alpine space

Education is highly important in order to facilitate know-how transfer and training of human resources through specialized courses, vocational trainings, excursions and the provision of teaching material in the field of planning and the construction of energy saving and producing buildings (ESAP buildings) in the alpine space.

Therefore within the ENERBUILD project different activities have been undertaken to support the projects objectives.

In a first step an assessment of existing training possibilities in participating countries has been conducted, resulting in at least 300 training modules identified. The assessment was analysed according to thematic focus and target group.

In a further step results were integrated in the development and implementation of specific training modules in the participating countries. In this regard the ENERBUILD project focused on priorities: The importance of education and training according the planning and construction of ESAP buildings in the alpine space

  • To set up training activities on ESAP technologies on apprenticeship level in cooperation with schools and professional education services
  • To set up initial training on ESAP buildings for architects and engineers, professionals and craftsmen; in order to design educational materials tailored to suit market needs, this was done with support from professional training institutions and stakeholders in the field of energy efficient buildings.
  • To inform the general public, public administration and public authorities about energy efficient buildings, with a specific focus on improvement of actual legislation and public call for tenders.
  • To foster knowledge transfer on academic level via target-orientated training programs as well as international conferences and meetings.

Analysis of educational programs in the alpine space

Eight partners took part in the analysis of educational programs on energy saving and producing buildings in the Alpine Space.

The focus in all education activities was laid mainly on the following target groups:

  • Apprentices in the field of building construction as well as building services
  • Craftsmen, architects, engineers, planners and experienced professionals
  • Academics and researchers
  • professionals in the public administration

The implementation process of the education programs and their results can be found here: 'Analysis of educational programs in the alpine space'

Pilot examples of successful educational/training programs initiated in the ENERBUILD project


There will likely be significant growth in employment in the energy efficiency services sector in the next decade, also in the alpine space. The results within the ENERBUILD project with more than 29 different training activities in the field of ESAP buildings highlight the need for additional education and training to meet the demands of a growing workforce to provide energy efficiency services. The project results indicates that diverse solutions will be necessary, including the development of new education and training programs to increase the skills of those already active in the field and to help prepare new employees.

The analysis of different training programs showed clear differences between the market developments in participating countries. Whereas in the region of Vorarlberg, Tyrol, South Tyrol and Bavaria show a clear market driven need for training programs, some regions in Italy or in France are still at the beginning of market development. The need for educational programs in these regions is mainly driven by new regulations and laws stimulating market growth in a top-down approach.

The experience in the project shows different levels of education modules and fields of interaction.

Provide training possibilities to public administration

Especially regions with strong emerging markets driven by new laws and regulations show a clear need for training activities for public administration. It seems substantial for starting market growth that especially the public procurement sector gets the possibility for education and training in the field of ESAP buildings. Training activities should both target professionals in the public sector as well as sensitizing politicians and decision makers for the advantages of ESAP buildings.

Provide energy efficiency education and support targeted at architects, engineers and professionals

The results of the project show that more than 70% of the total training activities have been implemented for craftsmen, architects, engineers and professionals.

Much of the growth according to ESAP market development will come from new entrants who already have some applicable skills (e.g. building and construction SMEs who might become efficiency retrofit specialists). There is also a strong demand for periodic training for those who are currently employed in this field but who need to update or augment their skills. In both cases, short duration courses on specific, applied topics will be more relevant than a two- or four-year degree program. These types of offerings will need to be significantly ramped up in the next few years.

Missing awareness and a rapid technological development in the field of EASP building technologies show a clear need for further training activities, especially for professionals. Because building and construction companies and architects constitute approximately 65-75% of the overall, it is important to educate and support the building and construction SMEs to make sure they are able to provide a trained workforce to support this growth. This problem appears more severe in regions that do not have long-running and public financed programs or where new regulations overburden technical skills of local SMEs.

Integration of ESAP topics in already existing education systems - "train the trainers"

A successful approach to enable sustainable market development for ESAP buildings proved to be the integration of actual technological developments and innovations into already existing education programs. In this case no separate educational infrastructure is necessary, which makes it time and cost effective. The disadvan-tage of such measures is that results will appear only in the long run. The project results indicate that there is a lack of qualified trainers to train the workforce respective a lack of possibilities for specific advanced training for existing staff. The areas of integrating actual topics in vocational trainings can be done on different levels:

a. Training of apprentices

b. Training in technical schools

c. Training in universities and academic trainings

Foster interregional know-how exchange via commeon training prgrams and conferences

Many regions are initiating a range of training and education activities that target workforce development for ESAP buildings. However, it proves challenging to identify and determine those courses that are relevant to other regions, both due to different market development as well as legal regulations in each country. Finally, it is also important to note that similar efforts are happening in a number of states so increased sharing of best practices and high-quality curriculum could help lead to more rapid launch of effective training programs.

International conferences turned out to be a successful instrument to foster knowledge transfer especially for researchers and academics. In some cases this seems also to be an option for SMEs, but due to travel and language problems only to a minor part.