the ‘Building Skills for Sustainable Construction’ project helped him widen his knowledge of sustainable construction methods, renewable energy and environmental standards.

The course included topics such as timber construction, planning for retrofits and Passive House projects, air-tightness in buildings, heat bridges, U-values, heat bridges, insulating materials, windows and doors, and ventilation systems.

As well as theoretical and practical training at the provider’s facilities, Willie also benefited from site visits where they can see how the training can be applied in practice.

The award winning builder said, “Germany is considered one of the world’s greenest economies and research has indicated that buildings in Germany use 20 per-cent less energy than neighbouring countries. Thanks to this training programme I was able to learn the latest techniques for improving energy efficiency in housing which can be brought back to Northern Ireland.

“This is the first group from here ever to go over to Germany for this. The course was very intensive and a lot of work but was greatly beneficial.

“In this region of Southern Germany almost half of the energy is produced by renewable technology. The construction industry there is flying. They are so far advanced compared to here thanks to a government commitment to sustainable energy. In Germany there is bank subsidies to support people to build houses using these sustainable methods. Money is being lent directly to the construction industry so it is absolutely booming. They have the lowest unemployment rate in years and the apprenticeship training is incredibly good.

“It shows what can be achieved through government support and a commitment to green policy.”

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