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October 15th – Better Than Best Practice

Conference Programme and Presentations

The programme debated a number of issues around the nZEB  and quality practices with a number of expert speakers from across Europe.

  • Initiatives from Europe and in Ireland to support up- skilling of building construction workers
  • How building professionals and companies are responding to the changing landscape of regulations and standards
  • New technologies and systems which are emerging as key requirement for nZEB and quality practices.

The presentations (pdf) can be downloaded below:

Videos are below in the programme table.


Better than Best Practice – Skills & Knowledge to Achieve Near Zero Energy Buildings Conference 
Time Speaker
09.00am Registration and Introductions
09.45am Zoe Wildiers, EU Commission/EASME – The Build Up Skills Initiative – Results and Impacts to date

Overview of the impact of the EU Build Up Skills Initiative and Future Plans

10.10am Damien English TD, Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation – Irish Context

The Energy Performance of Building Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive have recently proposed significant changes to the National policies and Building Regulations in Ireland.  The urgency now with up-skilling the building construction workforce in Ireland to implement these changes are paramount.

10.30am Torsten Windmueller, KOMZET– Training Irish Crafts Workers in Germany – Lessons from HEAT Plus and CESBEM

Experiences from training Irish Construction Personnel on Low Energy Buildings within Leonardo-da-Vinci mobility projects will be presented. Since 2009 KOMZET have trained nearly 400 Irish carpenters and plumbers and have gained a deep understanding of the differences in the skills and background information of craftsmen in both countries.

11.00am Tea/Coffee
11.30am Seamus Hoyne, LIT – Foundation Energy Skills Training for Irish Construction Workers

Outline of QualiBuild Foundation Energy Skills Training and it future roll out.  The Foundation Energy Skills (FES) programme is a core component of the Irish Build Up Skills Initiative.  Under the QualiBuild project it is planned to provide this training to 200 construction workers and develop a plan to roll it out Nationally.  Details of the programme and its supporting Train the Trainer programme will be presented.

12.00pm Tomas O’Leary, Passive House Academy – Training the Trades in Building Excellence – the Passive House Approach

Passive House is widely regarded as one of the most stringent building performance and comfort standards in the world. The Passive House Academy has trained tradesperson in this field in Europe, the US and Australia and recognizes the importance of providing locally relevant hands-on training in the topics of insulation, airtightness, thermal bridging, window installation and mechanical services.

12.30pm Rolf Rehbold, Build Up Skills GermanyGerman Build Up Skills (BUS) actions, current activities and regional initiatives on “smart builders” and quality networks

What kind of quantitative and qualitative gaps exist in Germany to reach the 2020 goals in the building sector and what needs to be done to close these gaps? Besides the results coming out of the first BUILD UP Skills (BUS) initiative in Germany the speaker will provide an overview of the main topics of Pillar II of BUS Germany that will be implemented from 2014 to strengthen the qualifications for interfaces between trades and the house as an integrated system. Furthermore, the talk will comment on regional initiatives to build up qualification for building sector workers.

13.00pm Lunch
14.15pm Robert Butler, CIF – Employers Approaches to Construction Worker Training

The launch of the CIRI register is major initiative for the construction industry.  This presentation will outline the CIRI Register and how the CPD process will improve employee training and the general awareness of key sectoral pillars of training needed.  It is anticipated that the subsequent up-skilling provided to the worker which in turn lead to enhanced quality of project outcomes.

14.45pm Joseph Little, Joseph Little Architects – How the Code of Practice of Retrofit and other tools can help raise the standards of design professionals

How the Code of Practice of Retrofit and other tools can help raise the standards of design professionals.  Joseph Little has been to the forefront of working with design professionals to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to design high quality low energy buildings.  Experiences from working with and training design professionals will be presented.

15:15pm Tea/Coffee
15:45pm Simon McGuinness, Dip Arch, MRIAI – “BIM, nZEB and Retrofit – The Father, The Son and The Holy Grail”

The ability to model buildings in 3D in order to accurately model their thermal and hydrothermal behaviour is critical to safely delivering the Retrofit revolution that beckons.  The presentation will review recent research at DIT aimed at mapping a course towards routinely delivering 85 -95% energy reductions for existing residential, institutional and commercial buildings.  This is the biggest construction project ever contemplated by mankind.  It is a challenge that demands a new mindset as much as a new skill set.

16.15pm Panel Q&A – Time provided to debate and query the presentations and future needs for training in relation to low energy buildings
17.00pm Conference Close


A little about the Speakers on the Day:

Better than Best Practice – Skills & Knowledge to Achieve Near Zero Energy Buildings Conference 
Zoe Wildiers, EU Commission/EASME 
Zoe has been working as a Project Officer at EASME (previously the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation) since 2009. During this period she have been working on projects on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Previously, Zoe had been working as a Project Manager mainly on wind energy projects Zoe Wildier (photo)
Damien English TD, Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation
Damien English is the Minister of State at the Departments of Education and Skills and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with Special Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation. He is a member of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party representing the constituency of Meath West. Damien first stood for election in 1999 and was elected to Meath County Council for the Navan electoral area. In the 2002 general election, Damien was elected to the 29th Dáil as TD for the Meath constituency.  At 24 years of age he was the youngest TD in the 29th Dáil.  minister_damien_english (photo)
Torsten Windmueller, KOMZET

Mr Windmueller is a cabinetmaker & joiner by trade; and graduated from technical college in Hildesheim as a timber engineer. Mr Windmueller was employed by Materials Testing Institute of University of Stuttgart from 1998 to 2007 in the field of inspection of prefabricated house manufacturers and glulam producers in Europe. Since 2007, he is a Project manager at Gem. Berufsförderungswerk and responsible for EU projects, inspection of prefabricated house manufacturers and working on standards regarding timber products on European and national level.

Torsten Windmuller (photo)
Seamus Hoyne, LIT
Seamus Hoyne is the Head of Department of Technology & Flexible Learning at LIT. He is an engineer by background with an undergraduate degree and Masters Degrees in that discipline. He is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland. He has been a Lecturer in LIT since 2000 and was the Manager of the Tipperary Energy Agency between 1998 and 2012 in addition to his lecturing role in LIT. He has been the Project Manager for a number of major European Projects including the €10 million FP7 funded SERVE project, the Irish Build-Up Skills project and the current QualiBuild project. He has also developed and managed a number of Leonardo Projects including CESBEM and HEATPLUS. seamus hoyne (photo)
 Tomas O’Leary, Passive House Academy
Tomás O’Leary has been working in the field on sustainability for over two decades. He is a Co-Founder of a number of firms focused on delivering innovative design, consulting and training services including MosArt Architects and the Passive House Academy. Tomás was inspired in 2002 to embark on building the first Certified Passive House in the English speaking world, his family home for the past 10 years. The Passive House Academy (PHA) is recognised internationally as a leader in providing training for both designers and contractors and has developed dedicated training labs in Dublin, London and New York. Tomás is highly focused on trying to make a difference to the survivability of our planet, and he believes working in this field can bring about improved quality of life and many business opportunities. He lives in Wicklow and enjoys nothing more than the company of his wife Mairéad and their three girls. tomas oleary photo
 Rolf Rehbold, Build Up Skills Germany.
Since 2010, Rolf R. Rehbold is the Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training in the Crafts Sector (FBH) at the University of Cologne. In this position he is responsible for scientific analyses in various projects in the field of vocational training and provides the federal ministry for economic affairs as well as the crafts organisations with expertise and advice. In this function he is the scientific coordinator in the German Buildup Skills Projects Pillar I and II. His career began with the VET as a bank clerk in 1996 and some years of experience in this profession. After graduating at University in economic education in 2006, he worked as a research assistant at the Chair for Vocational, Economic and Social Education. From 2008 to 2010 he supported the board of directors of the University in planning and implementing a Central Career Service (Professional Centre) at the University of Cologne.  Rolf Rehbold (photo)
 Robert Butler, CIF
Robert heads up the Training Services’ Department within the CIF and has responsibility for developing and delivering the CIF’s internal and externally accredited training programmes.Robert also supports the Safety policy role which involves liaising with members on the issues and providing assistance with their regulatory compliance issues. Robert is currently a Director / Board member of the Health & Safety Authority, he is also the outgoing Chairman of the IOSH Construction Specialist Section.Included in this role is the operation of the Construction Quality Assurance Ireland (CQAI) accreditation service which provides a sectorial approach to management systems certification. The scheme provides the construction industry with independent certification to international quality and environmental management systems standards Robert Butler photo
Joseph Little, Joseph Little Architects
Joseph Little graduated in 1996 from UCD with a Bachelor of Architecture and in 2008 from the Graduate School of the Environment in mid-Wales with an honours degree in “MSc Architecture – Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies”. He formed this practice in 2003 and has consistently worked to raise the bar in construction standards since. Little has been a member of the Royal Institute of Architects since 2003 and was the first architect to join ÉASCA (the Environmental & Sustainable Construction Association) in 2007. He is also a founder member of Irish Green Building Council and the practice is a member of the Passive House Association of Ireland. Joe Little (photo)
Simon McGuinness, Dip Arch, MRIAI
Simon McGuinness is a Certified Passive House Design consultant and Architect. He lectures in building retrofit technology and sustainability at the Dublin School of Architecture, Bolton Street, Dublin where he leads the MSc Programme in Energy Retrofit Technology. He has over 25 years’ experience in retrofit technologies in Ireland and abroad and has worked on a wide range of project types and contract sizes including extensive conservation experience. He received the UK Office of The Year award for his retrofit of the SOM designed 1 Fleet Place SimonMcGinness photo


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