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Fundación Laboral launches 'Nature based solutions' in January, a new European project on training in green roofs

The Spanish Service for the Internationalisation of Education approved the new Erasmus+ projects for the 2021 call, among which is this new initiative that will be led by the joint entity until July 2024.


Fundación Laboral de la Construcción will start in January the project 'Nature based solutions' (NaturBuild) on training in green roofs for urban and building sustainability, belonging to the Erasmus+ programme, which it will carry out together with Pedmede Somateio (Greece), Scuola Edile Piacenza (Italy), Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia (Portugal) and Instituto de Robótica y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación (IRTIC), part to Universidad de Valencia (Spain).

This European initiative, which will be led by the joint entity until July 2024, was approved by the Spanish Service for the Internationalisation of Education (Sepie) in December, within the 2021 call for proposals. The aim of NaturBuild is to create a comprehensive, module-based training course to train construction workers in the installation, maintenance and deconstruction of Nature Based Solutions (NBS), thus contributing to the mitigation of the impact of buildings and cities through training and awareness raising.

What are the NBS?

The European Commission defines nature-based solutions (NBS) as "solutions inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, provide simultaneous environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience; such solutions bring a greater diversity of nature and natural features and processes to cities, landscapes and seascapes".

Some of the effects of these solutions include improving the acoustic and thermal insulation of buildings (reducing their energy consumption), reducing the "urban heat island effect" (caused by higher temperatures in metropolitan areas than in suburban areas), improving air quality, and serving as refuges for wildlife in urban areas, thus supporting biodiversity conservation. The formation and application of nature-based solutions (and green roofs as one of the most efficient, popular and easy-to-install solutions) respond to the needs outlined in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the UN, the world's cities occupy only 3 % of the earth's land surface, but are responsible for 60-80 % of energy consumption and 75 % of carbon emissions. Moreover, the Renovation Wave for Europe aims to at least double renovation rates in the next 10 years and ensure that renovations lead to greater energy and resource efficiency. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional 'green' jobs could be created in the construction sector.

In view of the qualification and competence deficit in NBS, more specifically in green roofs, NaturBuild aims to offer training that provides workers with the skills to meet market trends and European targets for green building and sustainability.

Training, awareness raising, research and improvement

In this respect, the expected results of the project are as follows:

  • Global awareness module: training to establish a common basis for all professions involved in the NBS building process, providing an overview of the state of the art. At the same time, it will help to raise awareness of NBS and the benefits it brings to building performance, urban climate and biodiversity.
  • Installation module: specialised training according to the professional profiles involved in the installation of green roofs, to provide clear instructions on the steps to follow in each phase of the installation process, divided by occupations.
  • Maintenance module: training to provide instructions on the steps to follow for the different maintenance tasks. This module will potentially also cover the most appropriate vegetation to be used within the Mediterranean climate for each of the green roof types.
  • Deconstruction module, with two main objectives:
    • How to deconstruct a green roof in order to install a new one. This can occur for cases where the green roof was not installed correctly or for those green roofs that are not sustainable (e.g. due to the type of vegetation used or inadequate installation) and therefore a more suitable one should be installed.
    • How to deconstruct a (normal) roof. For cases where the green roof is to be installed on a building where a regular roof is installed.


In addition to these main project milestones, NaturBuild aims to offer:

-Research and analysis of the skills demand of green roofs (labour market and EU policies) and related skills shortages (professional profiles involved), as well as the definition of the skills perimeter.

-Strong training structure and learning outcomes through the contribution and support of key experts in education, construction labour market, innovation and sustainability.

-Design and development of a modular training course following the EQF methodology - oriented towards learning outcomes - and supported by EQAVET principles.

-Analysis of the adaptation of the training course to the identified priorities, through an online pilot test and its validation.

-To promote innovation in Vocational Education and Training (VET) by providing up-to-date ecological training for workers through e-learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) in English, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

-Better respond to common challenges, such as energy efficiency and climate change, through common approaches and harmonisation between countries.

-Dissemination of key project information at regional, national and European level, paving the way for the uptake of project results, generating interest, raising awareness and attracting the attention of key stakeholders, target groups and industry in general.

-Contribute to urban and building sustainability by providing construction workers with training in the installation, maintenance and deconstruction of green roofs.

The benefits of the project are expected to reach at least 1,870 teachers and training managers, researchers, technicians and building professionals in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal, as well as training centres and companies in the construction sector.

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