Closing the Energy Efficiency knowledge gaps

Energy efficiency - the low hanging fruit of climate action- needs to be improved, but it requires the right mix of skills and knowledge

August 16, 2021

Improving energy efficiency is widely recognised as a key element and a low hanging fruit in addressing climate change while at the same time contributing to sustainable development.
Specifically, energy management represents a significant opportunity for building, transport, industrial-commercial, and other sectors to reduce their energy use while maintaining or boosting productivity.

The potential in improving energy efficiency is also reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 7, which calls for a doubling of the global rate of energy efficiency by 2030.

To achieve these ambitions will require people equipped with the right mix of skills and knowledge.

A global lack of skills and knowledge

Globally, there is a lack of systematic review of skills and knowledge available in the energy efficiency sectors, both among the in-service professionals working in the energy efficiency sector and among recent graduates from the educational system.

UNEP DTU Partnership’s Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency has undertaken studies in Argentina, Sri Lanka, and Kenya to comprehend the gap between availability and requirement of energy efficiency skills and knowledge. These studies contextualise skills and knowledge gaps for energy efficiency in the building sector in Argentina, the Transport sector in Sri Lanka and the Commercial and Manufacturing sectors in Kenya.

Argentina – educational policies for local needs

In Argentina, the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency, in consultation with the Secretariat of Energy undertook a study for the building energy efficiency sector. The study concentrated on identifying strategies to improve skills and knowledge gaps of professionals working in both the public and private sector. It involved an in-depth review of educational programs related to energy efficiency in the building sector, a survey of 672 energy efficiency professionals, interviews of key stakeholders, and two validation workshops.

Based on this analysis, a series of lines of action are proposed for the energy efficiency in the building sector in Argentina to strengthen the professional profiles by creating educational policies according to the local needs and state of the art at an international level.

Read the study on how to expand and strengthen the skills of decision-makers and professionals here in Spanish and English.

Sri Lanka – efficient urban travel

In Sri Lanka, the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency worked with the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce to identify the demand for skills and knowledge amongst technicians, government officials and professionals working on energy efficiency in the transport sector.
Education programs across the country were reviewed, and 90 educationalists, 156 professionals from government institutions, were interviewed. The taught programmes at universities and technical schools were assessed for their coverage of energy efficiency skills and knowledge in programmes.

Suggestions and strategies are drawn for how to improve knowledge levels in main fields and disciplines associated with transport planning, implementation and operation. To ensure that Sri Lanka has the appropriate levels of skills to help the country improve the overall efficiency of urban transport systems, making urban travel more energy-efficient and ensuring infusion of advanced transport technologies and cleaner fuels.

Read the assessment of skills and knowledge gaps in Sri Lanka’s transport sector here.

Kenya – designing a new curriculum

In Kenya, the Copenhagen Centre for Energy Efficiency is working closely with the Ministry of Energy and the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority on a project that aims at upscaling the skills and knowledge required for energy efficiency related tasks in the commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in Kenya.
The project has three main outputs. The first output is to identify skills and knowledge gaps by reviewing energy audit reports of more than 300 facilities and surveying skill-sets of the sector’s professionals. The second output suggests strategies to improve the delivery of skills and knowledge, which is done after reviewing the existing education and training programs against the identified skills and knowledge gaps. The final output is to design a model curriculum and demonstrate how these can be operationalised by implementing training of trainer program.