Net-zero energy homes to be built in Santa Monica
Due to commence in 2017, Santa Monica will be providing single-family homes for residents in the area, with the aim of retaining ZNE status within the Green Building Standards Code. A net-zero energy building will ensure the amount of energy consumed on site will equal as the amount of renewable energy created, reducing the level of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, with a number of sustainable features embedded into each property.
Mayor Tony Vazquez of Santa Monica City Council, said: “Santa Monica is proud to take a global lead in zero net energy building standards that put the State’s environmental policy to action. The council's adoption of this new ordinance reflects our city's continued commitment to the environment.”
“ZNE construction, considered the gold standard for green buildings, is a major component that will help us reach our ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Net-zero energy homes will provide a number of long-term advantages, reducing the increase of future energy prices and overall living costs. The construction industry has been experimenting with net-zero energy homes since the mid 2000s, such as Canada’s first net-zero energy building, the EcoTerra House, and the Pearl River Tower in China, a zero-energy office build completed by Shanghai Construction Group and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in 2011,incorporating 71 storeys.
Significant research and development is now underway within sustainability and net-zero energy homes worldwide in the combat of reduced CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases.
Susan Munves, Solar Santa Monica, said, “it’s really important that cities invest in energy efficiency.” Solar Santa Monica is a city funded programme that helps promote and simplify the use of solar technology within the area, where the city is aspiring to become a net-zero energy region by 2020.
Read the November 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.