PROMOTION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN CONSTRUCTION THROUGH A NEW THREE-YEAR PROJECT
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The project Sustainable EnErgy Skills in Construction: Visible, Validated, Valuable – SEEtheSkills has commenced
PROMOTION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN CONSTRUCTION THROUGH A NEW THREE-YEAR PROJECT

The conference on How to attain visible, validated, valuable and sustainable energy efficiency skills in construction, held in the Aleksandar Palace hotel, marked the beginning of the European project SEEtheSkills - Sustainable EnErgy Skills in Construction: Visible, Validated, Valuable, part of the European research and innovation program Horizon 2020.

SEEtheSkills project builds upon the experience and results of the three previous projects, and the main goal of the fourth project stage in the following 3 years is to achieve greater visibility, access and recognition of the energy skills among partner countries, through cross validation based on learning outcomes, and by applying a new 3V approach (visible, validated, and valuable) to directly stimulate the construction demand for energy skills on the market,” highlighted the Project Coordinator, Jadranka Arizankovska of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia.

This Project will intensely work or creating broad, integrated database of certified workers, of available energy efficiency trainings, and of companies that hire certified persons, as well as a catalogue of energy efficient materials. Moreover, North Macedonia will transfer its methodology for recognizing prior knowledge to the partners, being one of the methods to certify the informal knowledge and skills, as well as the experiences of the pilot. The five countries included in the Project are expected to engage roughly 500 construction professionals, 2,000 workers, 1,200 tenants or building owners, over 50 professional organizations, 200 companies, etc.

Conference participants were greeted by the Executive Director of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia, Antoni Peshev, MBA, who pointed out the importance of the Chamber coordination of this significant Project in the next three years, namely, in cooperation with 10 partners, 7 of which are EU member states, and noted that the Chamber is successfully coordinating projects from the European program Horizon 2020 for the fourth time.

The Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Government of the RNM, Prof. Arafat Shabani, concluded that this Project is a serious attempt to keep pace with Europe in the achievement of the energy goals and the activities to overcome the climate challenges.

Mr. Luca Angelino, EC representative and Project Advisor at CINEA, briefly explained the role of the SEEtheSkills project in the European initiative BUILD UP Skills and in the European Green Deal agenda.

One of the primary goals of the Project is to raise the construction labor capacities. This includes workers, technicians, and engineers in the area of energy efficiency. These aims are in accordance with the EC’s Green Deal, which lays down a measure of reducing the greenhouse gasses emissions to zero by 2025. This will be achieved through energy efficiency measures and measures for using renewable energy sources, highlighted Prof. Dr. Hristina Spasevska, Curriculum Vice Rector at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

Prof. Spasevska added that the construction sector was not chosen at random, considering that in our country, this sector gathers employees without formal education and therefore, education and certification of the employees, technicians and engineers is precisely one of the goals of the Project. The project teams from our country are already experienced in certifying a large number of employees, especially regarding energy efficiency within the already developed methodology for recognizing prior learning (knowledge and skills), and the partners from the remaining countries will share the experience in creating databases of certified employees in the construction companies and databases of energy efficient materials.

Mr. Gregor Ficko of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia pointed out that it would be of great importance to the Project, which focuses on the under-developed construction sector, is to be prepared for the future challenges of climate changes, and in the next three years, the Project will provide a clear vision of our direction in the longer-term.

The Conference was divided into three panel discussions, which included experts from the chambers of the partner countries, on the following topics:

  1. Construction skills – the importance of their visibility and role in EU green agenda.
  2. The diversity of energy skills on international basis as a problem for their recognition and validation (the panelists stressed the replication of the methodology for recognition of prior knowledge in the context of informal education).
  3. Increasing the value of energy skills – the missing link between energy efficient construction and strive for upskilling.

Nena Nikolovska, L.LM., expert in construction, building materials and non-metal industries of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia, addressed the last panel discussion and spoke about the need for amendments to stimulate the demand for energy efficient construction.

  • According to the business sector, the Law on Energy Efficiency should determine the legal framework and the course at a strategic level, and in this regard, the Law should regulate and impose obligations, foremost to public sector entities, to entities that sell, distribute and supply energy, as well as to the state bodies in terms of adopting strategies, documents, and measures to stimulate energy efficiency and exercise control over their implementation. Energy efficient construction, according to the business sector, should be defined in the Law on Construction and the operation should be regulated with bylaws, considering that these regulations govern the building design, audit, construction and supervision, and the control over the application is within the competence of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. In this manner, all issues that cover the operation of the construction companies would be systematized into a single area, consistent application of the regulations in this area would be ensured and thereby, the demand for energy efficient construction would be stimulated.

Concerning the incorporation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the legislation, which is the focal point as to the digitalization of construction and energy efficient construction, the key factors in the process are as follows:

  • Institutions and state, when it comes to ensuring favorable business environment and appropriate legal framework that will allow introduction and implementation of modern technological solutions in construction.
  • Educational institutions, which will be working on adaptation of the educational programs to the requirements of the business community, aiming to develop skilled labor that can join the work process and apply the novel technological solutions.
  • Construction companies, which should be prepared to invest in implementation of new programs and technology, but also in development of labor that knows how to work with and apply them.

As part of the activities to increase the value of energy skills, the Project is planning to considerably raise the awareness of the significance of the skills and their value, initiating thereby a “Renovation Wave”, being one of the components of the European Green Deal, as well as activities in the shape of proposals to strengthen the legislation on energy efficiency of buildings, which is in fact, the second component of the European Green Deal.

The project SEEtheSkills will be carried out in the following three years, in partnership with 10 partners from 5 countries: North Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the Netherlands, and the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia is the main implementation partner. All partners will undertake the determined activities together, in accordance with the dynamics and assignments laid down in this Project.

 

Ivana Krstevska, LLM
Assistant at the organizational unit for member representation and networking