In construction, you have a direct impact on a better climate


Recently, the UN climate panel gave an update in a report. It shows that a lot of knowledge and means to act, such as renewable energy and moving away from fossil fuels, are already in place today. But the transition needs to shift up a gear globally. Earlier, Bill Gates also underlined in his book 'How to avoid climate catastrophe' that energy innovations and clean technology are driving forces to tackle climate change. According to him, behavioural changes alone are not enough and the broad roll-out of technology should be a priority. Closer to home, National Bank chief Pierre Wunsch points to the importance of electrification of our society based on renewable energy ('Finding money is not the problem' NBB governor Pierre Wunsch on the climate challenge', Trends). To make a big impact on the climate challenge with the latest technologies and reduce its impact, Embuild Flanders is calling on students and young professionals to aspire to a job in construction. More than ever, construction workers are the problem solvers on duty to realise the necessary transitions.

Recently, Flanders further raised its climate ambitions. In doing so, we set the bar higher than the European Union. Within less than two years you can only develop fossil-free buildings here. Renewable energy such as photovoltaic panels is compulsory for both new and renovated buildings. New owners of existing buildings should also proceed with energy renovation. Construction is a key driver in the climate challenge. If we fully commit to the European green deal, not only will our houses become more energy efficient, but we will also get a substantial increase in renewable energy applications and create a lot of new jobs in construction. But also the efficient (re)use of materials and the focus on circular construction in general are essential parts of the challenges where we want to realise a change as a society in the coming decades. A lot of resources are also being freed up to make mobility more sustainable with charging stations, extensive bicycle infrastructure, more freight transport by water, etc. And each time with thousands of employees within the construction sector serving as problem solvers.

"Construction has become a very diverse sector. Besides a hefty dose of high tech, the sector hooks into numerous social aspects. In particular, renewable energy technologies, smart buildings and the climate challenge are the main tone in the daily work of construction. Embuild Flanders is therefore making a warm appeal to all young people and professionals with experience to use their skills and expertise to pursue a job in construction and work together on innovative applications to get our region and environment on track," says Marc Dillen of Embuild Flanders.

Sustainable jobs in a sustainable sector

Embuild Flanders is strongly committed to its #WERFZE campaign to highlight the assets of the construction industry. For example, it draws attention to the sector's great social importance for climate, digitalisation and the circular economy, among other things. This involves both the traditional construction professions, which are much needed, but we also highlight profiles and start-ups that are still too little known to the general public. And which are in the slipstream of evolutions in construction such as high-tech and sustainability. Both are inextricably linked as a lot of digital applications help achieve circular construction and optimal use of materials. Just think of BIM professionals preparing construction projects digitally and fully in 3D, installers for smart buildings, specialists in 3D concrete printing, masonry robot operators, innovation coordinators, drone pilots, etc.

And climate and energy in particular have become staples of construction jobs. Engineers from engineering offices, site supervisors, calculators and draftsmen are crucial for the realisation of energy-efficient buildings because of their role in the preparation and execution of projects. They have to detail the projects while supervising the execution in such a way that the energy requirements and increasingly controlled airtightness are effectively achieved. For example, masons now more than ever have to pay attention to insulation in the building envelope. Various joinery professions need to pay attention to the airtightness of window and door openings. Roofers need to consider roof insulation. Within the installation sector, construction needs consultants and technicians who specialise in the latest technologies and appliances to make your home as energy-neutral and future-ready as possible. They can advise customers on the various renewable energy technologies, install and maintain them.

Finally, a construction project increasingly involves climate-adaptive interventions such as rainwater reuse and infiltration, the use of permeable materials, the construction of green roofs and facades, roof gardens, etc. Contractors are therefore counting more and more green workers in their ranks and they are increasingly employing natural engineering materials. Environmental technologists and engineers are also focusing on sustainability and economical use of water. Managing biodiversity sustainably, pursuing nature and water conservation create jobs such as landscape architects, geothermists, hydro engineers, connectors of water pipes, sewers and heat networks.