Free Training Program to Help Professionals Flourish in Low-Carbon Future

A new skills training program being launched this fall aims to promote increased collaboration and reskill the industry as Canada progresses towards zero-carbon by 2050.

Image courtesy of the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC)

In the midst of evolving regulations and increasing market interest in low-carbon buildings, the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC) has partnered with industry associations to create a free low-carbon skills training for the Canadian building sector.

The program, which is a first of its kind in Canada, will prepare professionals working in architecture, engineering, construction and commercial real estate, including building owners and operators, with an understanding of low-carbon strategies and solutions which will help the sector take advantage of low-carbon building opportunities and investments.

“The needs of the building sector are changing quickly, increasing demand for skills in low carbon construction and retrofits. The industry can no longer afford the status quo where these skills are not integral and required,” said Thomas Mueller, CAGBC president and CEO.

“The Low Carbon Training Program is designed to improve collaboration among leading industry associations and increase reach into the industry to effectively build knowledge and skills for low-carbon solutions. Companies who upskill their employees will have a competitive advantage in the market.”

The Low Carbon Training Program, which is partially funded by the Government of Canada, is being provided to the industry at no cost and was developed by CAGBC in partnership with the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), Climate Risk Institute (CRI), Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and the Real Property Association of Canada (REALPAC) along with leaders in the Canadian building sector. The curriculum features the main principles of low-carbon building that aim to be applied to new construction.

Additionally, the program was customized to meet the needs of specific professionals in the sector. Several different courses within the Low Carbon Training Program cover topics such as the business case for low-carbon building and retrofits and how carbon is being considered and measured by evolving codes and regulations during the life cycle of a building. It also covers topics from planning and design to construction and building maintenance and operation. Courses in the program will begin to roll out in October and will be available for free through to March 31, 2024. They do not require any previous training in sustainability.

Low-carbon construction and retrofits are vital for Canada’s 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction goals. A study led by CAGBC and Delphi Group projects a substantial boost in Canada’s green building economy, expecting $150B in GDP and 1.5 million jobs by 2030 through current government and industry investments. However, to meet this demand, the workforce needs enhanced low-carbon training. CAGBC workforce studies in 2019 and 2020 emphasized the importance of understanding carbon’s role in building processes and fostering collaboration among project teams and trades. Establishing a common low-carbon vocabulary is crucial for success.

“Low-carbon buildings and retrofits require more complex collaboration than traditional building projects. For many professionals, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest information and skills and to know where to start, what to focus on or what’s worth the effort,” said Laurna Strikwerda, director at Canada Green Building Council and Low Carbon Training Program Project Lead. “It was really important for us to work with a cross-section of industry leaders who understand the day-to-day challenges of professionals to create a program that is accessible and can benefit anyone interested in staying ahead of the curve as the building sector transitions to a low-carbon future.”

“A well-trained workforce is key to unlocking the green economy and supporting the growth of the construction industry,” said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault. “Through our Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, the Canada Green Building Council will provide thousands of workers with state-of-the-art training on sustainable building practices. This is a win for Canadian workers.”

CAGBC is offering the Low Carbon Training Foundations Course, which aims to provide professionals across various sectors with a fundamental grasp of essential low-carbon concepts. This comprehensive program, composed of five modules, seeks to establish a shared understanding and approach and will enable collaboration across all building sector professions.

Other partners will also offer profession-specific low-carbon training courses that will go into more detail about the day-to-day responsibilities and expertise of each professional group as follows.

The Low Carbon Education Training Workshop for Architecture Professionals workshop, scheduled for October 3, 2023, in conjunction with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) 2023 Congress on Architecture, delves into competencies supporting both new construction and building retrofits. Topics covered include climate change literacy, climate-responsive design, and integrative design thinking. Online versions of this course will become available at a later date.

The Low Carbon Fundamentals Course for Building Owners and Real Estate Professionals course, presented by the Real Property Association of Canada (REALPAC), aims to provide a practical understanding of low-carbon concepts pertinent to roles in development, investment, asset management, and corporate responsibilities. It addresses aspects such as GHG accounting, asset and portfolio-level standards, targets and pathways, low-carbon technologies, transition plans, reporting, and third-party verification. This online course is slated for November 7-9, 2023.

Pathway to Net Zero: Decarbonization for Building Operators is a course that explores the foundational aspects of low-carbon building operations, encompassing subjects such as building performance, decarbonization concepts and strategies, the role of building operators in implementation, and relevant case studies. It will be accessible online in January 2024 through the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada.

The Low Carbon Training Program for Construction Professionals is geared toward introducing core low-carbon building concepts and their application in construction, this course equips construction professionals with the requisite skills and knowledge for retrofitting and constructing low-carbon buildings. The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) will launch this online program in November 2023, in collaboration with associations in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.

Low Carbon Training for Engineering Professionals will be offered through the Climate Risk Institute (CRI). This course focuses on the fundamental principles of low-carbon development. It empowers learners with the collaborative decision-making, design, construction, and operational skills and knowledge essential for the retrofitting and construction of low-carbon buildings. The online course is set to begin in October 2023, with in-person sessions becoming available at a later date.

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