Come together, right now

For energy efficiency to be sustainable, it needs to be an integrated resource. What do we mean by this? We mean that it needs to fit with the school curriculum, from K-12 right up to post-secondary. Alberta schools saw an opportunity to bring energy efficiency into the education fold.

Grants in action Creating roadmaps for how we upskill in Alberta

The process to build an education module or even a full program is an involved affair. From conceptualizing an informative engaging program, to convening stakeholders to design and build the content, to gaining many levels of approval, it takes time, dedication and people power.

The Alberta Council for Environmental Education (ACEE) has been working as a key influencer in the environmental education space for 14 years. With funding in part from Energy Efficiency Alberta, they have presented white papers developed by students to government officials and published recommendations for the Alberta school curriculum to include energy efficiency and conservation. They have a special knack for convening leaders from education institutions and boards, to both encourage curriculum inclusion and energy efficiency retrofits in their various buildings. In addition, they support teachers through a variety of teacher professional learning functions, such as workshops and conferences.

The Canada Green Building Council is also a convener of experts. After the success of their Trading Up report in Ontario, they followed suit in Alberta, using funds from the Energy Efficiency Education Grant Program to develop Trading Up: How Alberta’s Trades Can Build a Zero Carbon Future. This report convened industry experts, influencers and policy decision makers, from post-secondary education institutions, government and businesses to provide a road map for skilled labour in our province. It looks at gaps in the knowledge and skills training of Alberta tradespeople, barriers facing trades as they upskill for tomorrow’s low-carbon jobs and how we can bridge those gaps. This is especially important as all new construction will need to meet net-zero building standards by the year 2030 (that’s only 10 years away).

"It is empowering to see the insights of industry leaders pulled together in specific recommendations that will move the green building industry forward!" ~ Lisa Gibson, Ledcor Construction Limited

"This report represents the voice of industry - calling for change and supporting the need to integrate sustainability into the very basics of buildings." ~ Melanie Ross, SAIT

The Village of Myrnam saw the opportunity for grant funding to put their brand-new Career Technology Centre on the map, and offer unique programming to an area of the province where starting work young is common, and efficiency and renewable skills are not the norm. In partnership with New Myrnam School, Myrnam Outreach and Homeschool Centre, they are working to ensure they have the necessary demonstration and instructional equipment to enhance practical learning. The two organizations are building and will offer courses in energy efficiency, solar PV certification and small wind design and installation to the community at large. This includes dual-credit programs with other institutions in the areas. This offering is unique to this particular area of Alberta and represents an opportunity students may not have considered or accessed otherwise.

SAIT and Norquest both took up the challenge to integrate efficiency and sustainable skills into their program offerings. Stay tuned for more information on future programs around implementation of energy efficiency and renewable practices and technologies.