Changes in NZEB Specifications and Apprenticeships in Ireland

Ireland has recently amended their Building Regulation standards to include NZEB, so it is now a legal requirement since 1st Nov 2019, that all new buildings and deep retrofitted buildings  (more than 25% of the surface area of the building envelope renovated) are to comply with NZEB. For example, all new housing will require a building energy rating, BER, of 45kwh/m2, whilst existing housing which are deep retrofitted or renovated requires the BER to meet >125kwh/m2.

To strengthen the Governments’ commitment to NZEB, the National NZEB Skills Specifications for housing have also been launched, developed and supported by industry, policy makers and educational bodies such as Limerick Institute of Technology, LIT.

However, to ensure these targets and compliance are met, the workforce will require upskilling in this field of energy efficiency, and Limerick Institute of Technology, LIT along with partners Waterford Wexford Educational Training Board WWETB, have  developed a portfolio of NZEB modules and Learning Units suitable for apprenticeships and craftworkers (plasterer, carpenter, electrician, ventilation, plumber, bricklayer and site supervisor). Additionally it is important to address the skills gap for general construction workers and the BUILD UP Skills QualiBuild Foundation Energy Skills course is updated to fulfil training needs for construction workers with a short fundamentals course for staff in Local Authorities/building owners. It is hoped these modules can be developed further within the BIMzeED project and transferrable across Europe.

The centre of excellence for NZEB approved and funded by the UN is in the planning for Wexford, and this will be the home for advanced sustainable trainings using practical models and construction walls, innovative products and smart technologies. Building Knowledge Hubs will be developed further nationally to reach all corners of Ireland.