Greenworks – the skills to diversify and gain the green advantage

The Climate Change 
Act has set a target of 
reducing the UK’s carbon 
emissions by 34 per 
cent by 2020. Alongside 
the need to deliver low-
carbon new builds, an 
extensive programme of 
refurbishment will also be required to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of around 8 million existing homes, writes Nick Ratcliffe, marketing director for Minster.Nick Ratcliffe - minster

 This represents a massive opportunity for contractors willing to adapt their skills and diversify their business. For plasterers and dryliners this could mean developing skills to encompass all forms of internal and external insulation, such as the increasingly popular external wall insulation (EWI). Specific training courses are available that provide an overview of the complete range of render protected EWI systems, along with guidance on the basic principles involved, such as those offered by Minster at the Greenworks Training Academy.

But it’s not just practical skills that will be in demand in the future. Under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2003), an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is now required for any existing property which is sold or let in the UK. The EPC includes a detailed recommendation report outlining measures that could be taken to reduce home energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. EPCs can only be produced by qualified, certified domestic energy assessors (DEA), and their equivalents for non-domestic buildings (NDEA).

Retraining as an energy assessor would enable a contractor to offer assessments as an additional stand-alone service, as well as placing them in a better position to secure any recommended refurbishment works.

In addition, the government’s new Green Deal initiative entitles all UK households and businesses to an energy-efficiency assessment, which can only be carried out by qualified Green Deal advisors (GDA). Only those already qualified as energy assessors will be able to train to become a GDA. Certified Green Deal Installers carry out any recommended energy-efficiency improvements to ensure they deliver genuine carbon and energy savings.

Alongside a variety of renewable technology and microgeneration certification courses, the Greenworks Training Academy is one of the first to offer energy assessor courses (for domestic and non-domestic properties). It has also recently launched a new Green Deal advisor course to help ensure the industry can meet the challenges ahead.