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Λεύκωνος 2-12, 1011 Λευκωσία
Λεύκωνος 2-12, 1011 Λευκωσία

By Andreas Pastides, Communications Manager, CEA, 5 mins read

After 36 months of close collaboration between Greece, Cyprus, and Germany, the project Upskilling Professionals for deep enerGy efficiency REnovations: A Tool for better schools [UPGREAT] is coming to an end. To mark the end of this fruitful collaboration and exploit the project’s methodology and outputs with the general public -especially the building professionals in Greece and Cyprus-, the partners from these two counties are organising open raising-awareness events. Four such events are expected within the project’s lifetime, two per country, aimed at highlighting the importance of energy efficiency and skilled building professionals.

Greece’s first raising-awareness event was held in Athens, on Friday, November 3, 2023. The event was hosted by the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (project coordinator) at their premises, and was supported by the Hellenic Passive House Institute (project partner), the Cyprus Energy Agency (project partner who flew to Athens), and the German Da-Di-Werk (project partner who attended online).

Greece’s first raising-awareness event focused on deep energy efficiency renovations in schools across Greece, Cyprus, and Germany, and the importance of upskilling those involved in such renovations. Even though the event was open to the general public, it was mainly addressed to the students’ community, especially those of the Department of Physics and the Building Environment Research Group.

Mr Andreas Pastides, Communications Manager for the Cyprus Energy Agency, and lead partner for the Communication & Dissemination of the project, welcomed the audience with a brief presentation on the UPGREAT’s objectives and milestones up to date. Mr Dimitris Pallatzas, Building Physicist at the Hellenic Passive House Institute, took over to present the principles of building physics, and cases of schools in Greece that have adopted the Passive House standard. In the same context, Ms Christina Palochi, Architectural Engineer at the Cyprus Energy Agency, showcased school buildings in Cyprus that have undergone energy renovation, and shared best practices in the methodology and implementation of the interventions. To add on these, Dr Oliver Ottinger, Energy Planning Consultant at Da-Di-Werk, presented the German paradigm with cases of schools in Germany that follow the Passive House standard.

To dive into the importance of upskilling the workforce of deep energy efficiency renovations, Mr Vasileios Ntouros, Building Physicist at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, took the baton. His presentation explained the rationale behind the UPGREAT’s Total Training Toolkit; from acknowledging the existence of gaps and barriers in energy efficiency implementation methods, to defining these gaps and barriers through a targeted survey. Mr Ntouros’ presentation was also an opportunity to launch the series of free training courses based on the Toolkit, that the partners in Greece and Cyprus are offering to the building professionals. The event closed with an open discussion and a networking lunch.

Cyprus’ first raising-awareness event happened a week after; on November 11. The event was hosted by the Cyprus Energy Agency, at the Municipal Multicultural Centre of Nicosia. Other than the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Hellenic Passive House Institute, who flew to the island to contribute to this event, the event was also supported by the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus, the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus, and the Knauf company in Cyprus. The participation of the three latter was significant in delivering the aims of this event.

Cyprus’ first raising-awareness event had a very similar structure to Greece’s, yet its focus was mainly on the training of the professionals involved in building renovations. Starting with a presentation on the island’s building stock and the legislative framework regarding energy efficiency in buildings and energy upgrades, delivered by the Cyprus Energy Agency’s Director, Mr Savvas Vlachos, the discussion moved to the training and certification of the building workforce -from white to blue collars. The presentation of Mr Christos Maxoulis, Senior Scientific Officer at the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus, focused on the engineers; while that of Mr Christos Tzamas, Human Resource Officer at the homonymous Development Authority in Cyprus, focused on the technicians. Finally, Mr Matheos Kleovoulou, Sales Manager at Knauf Cyprus, took a products perspective to stress once again the need of upskilling the building professionals.

Both events were implemented successfully, attracting enough participation so as to initiate a dialogue on deep energy efficiency renovations in schools and other public or private buildings, as well as on the gaps and barriers in implementing such methods, like the lack of trained and skilled professionals. Greece’s next and final raising-awareness event is due to December 19, and Cyprus’s due to December 20. The two events will summarize the project and its deliverables the last three years and invite those interested in learning more about the Toolkit to reach out and find out how to gain access.

To learn more about the UPGREAT project, visit its website and follow it on social media:

This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).