17 June 2024

Public procurement stimulates demand for sustainable construction skills

The built environment in Europe accounts for about 50% of all extracted material, for 35% of CO2 emissions, and for over 35% of the EU’s total waste generation. Implementing nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEB) can be used to reduce this climate impact and presents an opportunity for cost-effective energy and carbon savings. Yet the right skills are needed to make this transition.

A new step-by-step guide highlights how public procurement can stimulate demand for nZEB construction skills. The guide, led by ICLEI Europe within the scope of the EU-funded nZEB Ready project, shows which requirements can be implemented throughout the procurement process, and provides examples from pilot projects and additional resources. The guide is further complemented by a collection of 15 case studies that illustrate how public authorities from across Europe have procured the renovation and construction of nZEB buildings and the impact these projects had on the uptake of skills and know-how.

A more energy-efficient building stock would help curb GHG emissions and energy consumption and support climate targets. Since 2021, all new buildings in the EU should reach the target nearly-zero energy building (or nZEB) standard, as defined by national governments. To reach these goals, the construction workforce needs to have the skills and know-how to design, construct, renovate and maintain energy-efficient buildings.

As owners of large buildings and employers, public authorities can support the upskilling of the construction workforce. By embedding criteria in tenders for nZEB building standards, certifications, qualifications, as well as on-site training clauses public buyers can encourage the market to develop (n)ZEB skills.

Download the guide here.