A new report examines the training needs of engineers, architects, and renewable energy specialists for zero carbon and provides key considerations for government, education providers, accreditation and professional bodies.

The study, released on April 30, 2020 by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), reveals that the building industry still has significant work to do to ensure professionals have access to the skills and knowledge required to deliver zero carbon buildings at scale.

Canada has committed to reaching a 30 per cent reduction below 2005 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, intending to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The building sector has an opportunity to play a crucial role in meeting these targets.

“Transitioning to zero carbon buildings offers significant emissions reductions, but it also requires a shift in thinking and practice across the building sector,” says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of CaGBC. “Skilled job training is a critical element in shifting the industry toward a knowledgeable and prepared application of zero carbon building practices which will make a positive impact on Canada’s climate goals.”

Zero carbon buildings provide a proven pathway to achieve much-needed carbon reductions. However, the successful transition to zero carbon requires specific skills and knowledge. Building to a zero carbon standard can be more complex and demands that project teams work more collaboratively, from design through to completion and operation.

Net-zero heating energy warehouse profiled by CaGBC.
A ZCB Design by East Port Properties and MCW.

In the report, Accelerating to Zero: Upskilling for Engineers, Architects, and Renewable Energy Specialists, CaGBC leveraged its Zero Carbon Building Standard to define the core competencies and sub-competencies needed to support zero carbon building by building industry professions. The report establishes an industry baseline of zero carbon building skills and knowledge among engineers, architects, and renewable energy specialists. This was achieved as a result of 318 survey respondents who self-reported their perceived knowledge and practical experience for the competencies, helping to identify knowledge and skills gaps. In addition, CaGBC tracked preferred learning approaches and available training and education to better understand what opportunities exist to upskill around these zero carbon competencies.

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The report includes the following recommendations:

  1. Ensure education and training curricula address zero carbon building competencies.
  2. Support upskilling by establishing common terminology for courses and by investing in self-assessment tools.
  3. Drive enhanced professional credentialing requirements.
  4. Invest in, develop and support multiple delivery methods and formats.

To review the detailed list of considerations, click here.


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