A new program at Camosun College aims to give construction industry workers the skills they need to design and build greener structures.
The school announced it will be offering clean energy and efficient buildings micro-credentials. Ross Lyle, chair of mechanical engineering technology, explained the school was already planning a green building program, but decided to adapt it to a micro-credential model which allows more flexibility for working students.
“What we did is we looked at our planned program and decided to adapt that,” said Ross. “We have been thinking about a green energy program for years and it seemed like a good fit for this model. We are targeting people in the workforce wanting to upgrade their skills.”
The new micro-credentials are delivered mostly by distance on weekday evenings. They can be stacked to earn specializations or taken as standalone course offerings. Hands-on experience opportunities will be available with specific micro-credentials in all streams.
Lyle added since many of the micro-credentials are online, students don’t have to always travel to the island to get them.
Currently the school is offering specializations in photovoltaic design, photovoltaic installation, passive house design and passive house trades skills.
Lyle explained the program will help prepare students to take exams for internationally recognized certification offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, Natural Resources Canada and Passive House.
The program is being helped by provincial funds under the B.C. Micro-Credential Initiative.
A large portion of Camosun’s funding will go towards a new clean energy and energy efficient lab space so students can get hands-on experience. Students will be able to work with photovoltaics and energy efficient building techniques.
“I think our lab space will be wonderful,” said Ross. “They will get hands-on experience doing photovoltaics, installing insulation, practice doing air-tight buildings, heat recovery ventilation.”
Lyle noted green building has been on the school’s radar for years as the province has introduced programs like the B.C. Energy Step Code to gradually make new buildings more efficient. Cities like Vancouver plan to transition to zero emissions requirements for new construction by 2030.
“The technology to do those types of buildings exists now so why not start introducing it,” said Lyle. “I think there is going to be a move in that direction.”
Lyle said the school likely isn’t stopping at green construction. He hopes to expand into energy regulations and retrofitting micro-credentials.
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