EXPERT TALKS is a new initiative from BUILD UP. In the form of face-to-face interviews, experts coming from all around Europe and covering the field of Energy Efficiency in buildings from different perspectives share their views, experience and expertise with BUILD UP audience. The interviews address relevant topics linked to the Topic of the Month.
The 11th edition of our Expert Talks hosts Dragomir Tzanev, Executive Director of Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect and official representative of Municipal Energy Efficiency Network EcoEnergy – Bulgaria.
He is also the coordinator of the successfully completed BUILD UP Skills – Bulgaria, BUILD UP Skills EnerPro, Train-to-NZEB and Fit-to-NZEB projects, and the ongoing EXCITE and NZEB Roadshow, supported by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union.
Dragomir is author of a series of publications and lecturer at numerous international conferences in the field of sustainable energy development, education and training on energy efficiency and RES in buildings, principles of passive and nearly zero-energy buildings, and municipal energy planning.
Reflecting on what have been the main achievements and outcomes of the mentioned projects and initiatives, Dragomir stresses the success of BUILD UP Skills Bulgaria to improve skills of NZEB in the construction sector and the fact of having more than 2,000 people trained under these programmes (e.g. hundreds of trainers and teachers in professional high schools and vocational training centres).
They were also able to intervene in the Bulgarian education system adding new disciplines in the training plans for professionals in high schools and universities’ programmes.
Dragomir affirms that thanks to all this fruitful process, the supply of training in Bulgaria is at an acceptable level compared to other European countries.
Looking at a wider scale, Dragomir states that the general offer of training has developed thanks to European programmes and Horizon 2020.
Moreover, European policies have shown proactive moves, such as the Renovation Wave. However, the market demand for training for NZEB and quality buildings is not too overwhelming.
Here, he notes the fact that the construction sector is slow in translating the legal requirements into practice and that it is hard to promote change in attitude towards quality.
Dragomir underlines that there will be market demand for construction skills only when the demand
for quality and sustainable buildings will be there. As an example of how to stimulate the market, Dragomir mentions the project NZEB Roadshow which will organise large scale events in many European countries.
The main characteristic of these events is that they are going to involve the end-users and, by having demonstration mobile houses, they are going to highlight the benefits and comforts that nZEB can bring.
Concerning the conditions arising from Covid-19 containment measures, Dragomir says that they have already organised online conferences and mentions some online training courses for home-owners associations in Bulgaria which reached a high number of participants.
He also adds that although in the construction sector is not always possible to rely on online interaction, online training should also become part of the good practices in the coming years, following the trend of digitalisation of the building sector.
When asked how to handle resistance among participants and if there are differences based on the country or the professions, Dragomir states that the situation differs a lot among countries.
For example, in Bulgaria, there is not extensive experience with continuous professional development system in the construction sector and there is quite a lot of resistance from different construction groups, both highly qualified construction specialists and blue-collar workers, although it appears in different forms.
He concludes that it is important to contribute to the first shaping of continuous professional development system in Bulgaria.
This has to be done by providing quality content, apply stricter requirements for professionals (e.g. in the procurement process) and train them to become skilled workers for NZEB.