Life Cycle Assessment In Malaysian Construction Industry Environmental Sciences Essay

Malayan building is among the strategically of import sectors non merely in term of supplying edifice and substructure, but besides lending to the economic growing. However, the increasing of building rate could besides present to the important jobs with respects to negative environmental impact from its activities. The relationship between building activities due to the built environment in nature and the sustainable development policy is important and complex. Construction sector uses considerable sum of natural stuffs, at the same clip the sector demand to better the societal, economic and environmental facets. One of the planetary heating potency ( GWP ) indexs is carbon dioxide ( CO2 ) . Emission of the gas from the building activities could happen along the life rhythm of building activities including the production of building stuffs, stuffs transit, building stages and waste disposal. The intent of this paper is to foreground on the life rhythm appraisal ( LCA ) research in building industry particularly in the building stuff in Malaysia context. The research method is based on the execution of life rhythm appraisal ( LCA ) attack which is a method used to place and quantify the environmental public presentation of a procedure or a merchandise from “ cradle to sculpt ” which is from the extraction of natural stuffs until the concluding disposal of waste building stuffs. The methodological analysis of LCA that include the current analysis and theoretical account of LCA will besides be discussed.

The building industry is one of the most of import industrial sectors. In each state, built environment usually constitutes more than one half of the existent capital and building represents a major portion of the Gross National Product ( GNP ) . For case in the European Union, building sector is the largest individual industrial sector, lending with about 11 % to the GNP and holding more than 25 million people straight and indirectly engaged ( CIB, 1999 ) .

It is besides a fact that industrial sector is a big consumer of resources – energy-intensive manufactured stuffs such as Fe, steel and cement for structural elements, glass for Windowss and man-made stuffs for sealing and insularity. Energy usage is the basic drive force behind clime alteration and a figure of air pollution jobs. Within the European Union, edifices are estimated to devour about 40 % of entire energy and besides to be responsible for some 30 % of CO2 emanations ( CIB, 1999 ) . The use is remains at a systematically high degree all over the universe. For illustration, in the European Union and the New Independent States, energy ingestion has fallen by 23 % since 1990 as a consequence of economic restructuring and it is expected to lift once more as economic revival takes off. Building usage about 30 % of entire energy straight, but if the indirect usage is included the proportion is closer to 50 % ( CIB, 1999 ) . These figures might differ from state to state.

The building industry and building usage are the major loads to the environment as the sector is attributable to solid waste. It is estimated that around 13 % of all solid waste deposited in landfills global comprises building and destruction was with a ratio 1:2 of building to destruction waste. Within the European Union, edifices are estimated to bring forth about 40 % of all semisynthetic waste. In the Netherlands, for illustration, 4.25 thousand million tones of building waste each twelvemonth ( CIB, 1999 ) .

In the context of accomplishing Sustainable Development, building plays a critical function as this industry constitutes one of the chief supports for economic development and societal well being. Sustainable development can be best described as heightening quality of life and therefore leting people to populate in a healthy environment and better societal, economic and environmental conditions for present and future coevalss ( O.Oscar et al. , 2008 ) . In Bruntland Report 1987, the Sustainable Development was defined as a development that “ Meets the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands ( CIB, 1999 ) . ” In other words, Sustainable building is a manner for the edifice industry to travel towards accomplishing sustainable development, taking into history environmental, socio-economic and cultural issues. This can be achieved with the application of tools that deal with the appraisal of the whole life rhythm, site planning and organisation, material choice, re-use and recycling of stuffs, waste and energy minimisation.

In response to increasing consciousness of the environment, a life rhythm attack is indispensable for rating and betterment of the environment public presentation of the building merchandises ( Chevalier J.L et al. , 1996 ) . In present survey, the life rhythm appraisal ( LCA ) methodological analysis is implemented to determination devising in order to better sustainability in the building industry.

In the position of the current limited LCA activities in Malaysia, the purpose of this reappraisal is to consistently analyze old LCA research on the building stuffs in order to analyse the current state of affairs and to sketch the cardinal challenges refering the deficiency of promotion of LCA and the building industry.

Firstly portion of the paper provides inside informations of LCA and its methodological analysis, which is based on International standard series ISO 14040. In the 2nd portion, the reappraisal consistently reveals the development of LCA in Malaysia. Following this, we present some of LCA in building stuffs in Malaysia, and eventually, we look at the mentality and challenges for LCA research in Malaysia and pull some decisions.


Life rhythm appraisal ( LCA ) is defined as the digest and rating of the inputs, end products and possible environment impacts of a merchandise system throughout its life rhythm. LCA acts as an environmental analysis tool to analysis the environmental load of merchandises at all phases in their life rhythm or “ cradle-to-gate ” . “ Cradle-to-gate ” begins with the assemblage of natural stuffs from the extraction of resources, through the production of stuffs, merchandise portion and the merchandise itself, and the usage of the merchandise to the direction after it is discarded either by reuse, recycling or concluding disposal ( Micheal Z. H. , 2005 ) . LCA enables the appraisal of the cumulative environmental impacts ensuing from all phases in the merchandise life rhythm, including impacts non considered in more traditional analyses such as natural stuff extraction, material transit, ultimate merchandise disposal etc ( Mary A. C. , 2006 ) .

The term “ life rhythm ” refers to the major activities in the class of the merchandise ‘s life-span from its industry, usage, and care, to its concluding disposal, including the natural stuff acquisition required to fabricate the merchandise ( Mary A. C. , 2006 ) . At present, the International Organization for Standardization ( ISO ) has standardized the methodological model for LCA that comprises of four distinguishable analytical phases: Goal and Scope Definition ; life rhythm stock list appraisal ; life rhythm impact appraisal and life rhythm reading ( Berkel, R.V. , 2000a ) . This paper will now briefly explore LCA methodological analysis.

Goal definition and scoping – define and depict the intent and method of including life rhythm environmental impacts into the decision-making procedure. In this stage, the undermentioned points must be determined: the type of information that is needed to add value to the decision-making procedure, how accurate the consequences must be to add value, and how the consequences should be interpreted and displayed in order to be meaningful and useable. Every determination made throughout the end definition and scoping stage impacts either how the survey will be conducted, or the relevancy of the concluding consequences ( Mary A. C. , 2006 ) .

Life rhythm stock list analysis – a life rhythm stock list is a procedure of quantifying energy and natural stuff demands, atmospheric emanations, waterborne emanations, solid wastes, and other releases for the full life rhythm of a merchandise, procedure or activity ( Mary A. C. , 2006 ) . In the life rhythm stock list stage of LCA, all relevant informations of the inputs and end products of all the procedures in the merchandise system is collected and organized. The inputs and end products are typically measured in footings of stuff and energy flows and environmental releases which are associated with different procedures ( Micheal Z. H. , 2005 ) . The stock list besides produce a list incorporating the measures of pollutants released to the environment and the sum of energy and stuff consumed. The consequence can be segregated by life rhythm phase, media ( air, H2O, and land ) , specific procedures, or any combination thereof.

Life rhythm impact assessment- The life rhythm impact appraisal ( LCIA ) is the rating of possible human wellness and environmental impacts of the environmental resources and releases identified during the life rhythm stock list. Impact appraisal should turn to ecological and human wellness effects and besides resource depletion. A LCIA efforts to set up a connexion between the merchandise or procedure and its possible environmental impacts by utilizing a computation from science-based word picture factors ( Mary A. C. , 2006 ) . The environmental impact classs should reflect a comprehensive set of environmental issues related to the merchandises system being identified ( Berkel, R.V. , 2000b ) .

Life rhythm reading – Life rhythm reading is the phase at which determinations are made about how to react to the challenges posed by environment impacts ( Berkel, R.V. , 2000c ) . Interpretation evaluates all the LCA consequences harmonizing to the survey ‘s end. Sensitivity and uncertainness are besides analyzed to measure up the consequences and the decisions ( Micheal, Z. H. , 2005 ) .

Some units of measuring normally used for environmental impact classs are ( Rankin, W. et al. , 2000 ) :

Global warming – measured comparative to the consequence of 1 kilograms of CO2

Acidification – measured comparative to the consequence of 1 kilograms of SO2

Photochemical oxidizer formation – measured comparative to the consequence of 1 kilogram of ethene

Nitrification – measured comparative to the consequence of 1 kilograms of phosphate

Resource depletion – measured comparative to universe militias.


The outgrowth of the ISO 14040 series on life rhythm appraisal ( LCA ) has brought towards the acceptance of these criterions in Malaysia, including other criterions such as ISO 14040, 14042 and 14043. In the present clip, the usage of these criterions or in other words, the usage of LCA as a tool for environmental direction is at the babyhood phase.

The constitution of the LCA Societies/Forums seems to be a milepost in the advancement of the LCA activities. In this sense, Malaysia has reached at the phase of obtaining the National Consensus on the importance of LCA. China, Thailand and Vietnam are still in the early phase to advance the importance of LCA. In 2000, Malaysia in cooperation with Korea, Chinese Taipei and Thailand, has merely started a new undertaking with the JEMAI to interchange information and to develop the Life Cycle Inventory ( LCI ) for energy production database, because they are the cardinal information to carry on LCA ( Atsushi, I. et Al, 2002 ) .

In 2001, The Asiatic Productivity Organisation ( APO ) has initiated a undertaking to develop, papers and publish LCA instance surveies from 8 Asiatic member-countries, including Malaysia. The instance surveies comprise product/system life rhythm phases runing from natural stuff extraction, production and fabrication, usage and reuse, to recycling and ultimate disposal. The aim of the undertaking are: to showcase Asiatic experience in LCA, to obtain experience and feedback from an Asiatic position on using ISO 14040, to affect local companies in using LCA, to advance consciousness and instruction in LCA, and to detect the function of LCA in Green Productivity and other environmental enterprises. Green Productivity ( GP ) is a scheme for heightening productiveness and environmental public presentation for overall socio-economic development. It is the application of appropriate productiveness and environmental direction tools, techniques and engineerings to cut down the environmental impact of industrial activities, merchandises and services ( Reginald B.H. Tan, 2002 ) .

The industries are encouraged to accommodate self-regulatory steps and applied the life rhythm attack in their production procedure and merchandise development. The proposal was stated within an economic development program

The deficiency of consciousness of LCA is reflected in a study done to 150 companies in the state showed 40 % of the respondent has nil to minimal cognition of LCA ( Chen S.S. ) . In the present clip, LCA instance surveies are conducted by a figure of universities in the state as pupils ‘ concluding twelvemonth of station alumnuss undertakings.

To advance the greater usage of environmentally sound engineerings in Malaysia, the Economic Planning Unit ( EPU ) of the Prime Minister ‘s Department and the Finance Ministry of Malaysia with blessing by the Cabinet of Malaysia had unveiled an economic development program viz. the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Within the design, the industries will be encouraged to accommodate self-regulatory steps and use the life rhythm attack in their production procedures and merchandise development. SIRIM Berhad was mandated to develop the National Life Cycle Assessment ( LCA ) to develop the National Life Cycle Inventory Database. The Database will be used to carry on life rhythm appraisal surveies, back up the National Ecolabelling Programme and carry through the demands of foreign statute law that demand grounds on the control step taken to cut down environmental impact of merchandises and services throughout their life rhythm.

The specific purposes of the National LCA Project are as follows:

To develop the national life rhythm stock list database

To develop a critical mass of local LCA practician

To develop ecolabelling standards paperss for the National Ecolabelling Programme

To make consciousness among industry and consumer groups on the importance of LCA in today ‘s fabrication and procurance pattern.

In order to accomplish these, the authorities has granted RM 42,450 on a undertaking of Material Flow Analysis of Major Raw Materials and Resources, which is targeted to finish within four months. The undertaking ‘s aims are to place the natural stuffs flow in footings of sum and state of export of major ores by agencies of statistic information hunt and to accomplish some other aims of informations aggregation on the signifier of transit, path and distance of natural stuff distribution.

The concluding certification for this undertaking for the twelvemonth 2006 has been compiled. The datasets of natural stuffs and resources compiled are of crude oil oil, Fe ore, limestone, Cu ore, aluminium ore, Sn ore, Ag compounds, gold compounds Fe merchandises and aluminium merchandises.


Many of Asiatic states are demoing singular economic growing once more after the serious recession of several old ages ago. The attempt to continue the planetary environment is besides spread outing amongst their leaders.

In malice of the Swift development and enfranchisement to ISO 14001, LCA has yet to derive broad spread involvement in Malaysia. Governmental systematic support to day of the month is confined to international standardisation activities under ISO/TC 207. Some universities, research establishments and taking LCA research workers have carried out instance surveies.

One of the researches on the environmental impact of the building industry in Malaysia was performed by Thoo Hoi Hian ( 2002 ) . The chief purpose of this survey was to analyze the impact of the life rhythm of steel building in Malaysia from natural stuff acquisitions, production, usage and disposal. The information of the survey was obtained from Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd, the exclusive steel maker in Malaysia. The consequences showed that the energy needed to do steel from recycled bit is merely 35-40 % of the sum of energy required to do steel from Fe ore. While in the production procedure, although H2O is consumed in the production procedure, but it is recycled in a closed chilling system and merely a little sum of the H2O is returned to the environment through vaporization procedure. Atmospheric emanation related to steel production procedure is including C dioxide ( CO2 ) , sulphur dioxide ( SO2 ) , dust and fume. It was found that there was a decrease about 75 % of CO2 emanation when steel is made from recycled scarp comparison to steel made from Fe ore. This survey besides reported that a full LCA for steel is really difficult to be carried out in Malaysia due to several jobs arose from the industry such as the handiness of the necessary informations sing steel fabrication, the low dependability of available informations and the deficiency of engagement from the private sectors.

In a brief analysis on the rating of environmental impact of the building stuff, Ong C.H. ( 2007 ) studied the life rhythm of cement in Malaysia, specifically the life rhythm of the production of Ordinary Portland cement. The chief purpose of this survey is to place the hot musca volitanss and possible betterment of fabrication procedures in order to supply a scientific footing for the optimal usage of natural resources and the choice of fabricating methods. SimaPro tool was used for the environmental impact of the building stuff. The functional unit was one tone of cement. Data collected to finish the instance survey located were from Tasek Corporation Sdn Bhd. The consequences showed that the highest subscribers for environment impacts in the cement fabrication procedures are the cinder, followed by cement factory, natural stuffs readying, raw factory and chilling. The cinder is identified as the critical way of the cement fabrication procedure due to the high energy demands and the release of important sums of C dioxide. The survey recommended two alternate options to get the better of the environmental impacts from the cinder. The first option is to replace the bing kiln fuel with other available options fuel and the 2nd option is to cut down the use of cinder in cement production.

Other survey done by Lay W.K ( 2007 ) applied LCA to a CSR sterilizers lightweight concrete ( ALC ) production. The chief aim of the survey is to put up a LCA theoretical account for roll uping and accessing environmental impacts for the CSR ALC merchandise. SimaPro was used as the LCA tool. The informations were obtained from CSR Building Materials ( M ) Sdn Bhd. The survey found that 79.2 % of the entire environmental impacts were caused by cement and merely 15.1 % of entire energy from electric ingestion.

There is another research done by Yoshinori Fujita et Al. ( 2009 ) that assessed the CO2 emanations and forest resource sustainability for the lodging building taking topographic point in Malaysia. The survey assessed the disaggregated CO2 emanations from lodging types and structural used and besides the impact on forest resources from increased lumber lodging building. The paper assumed that the CO2 was generated from fuel burning and cement production procedures and hence, a published I-O tabular array of Malaya from the twelvemonth 2000 was used. The consequences showed that the superstructure of the lodging building emitted 20-50 % of CO2 owing to cement use. In add-on, from the comparings between lodging with hemorrhoids and lodging without hemorrhoids, it was noted that the CO2 emanations from the heap could be reduced if the lodging weight became lighter. Whilst, the CO2 emanations were reduced to every bit low as 9 % if the lodging was made of timber alternatively of reinforced-concrete. The survey besides showed that by increasing the lastingness of lodging up to 60 old ages, it appeared to hold the lowest jutting impact on forest resources, followed with the widening lodging lastingness up to 40 old ages and low population growing.


Malaysia is one of the few states in the universe that has actively attempt to equilibrate environment preservation with economic development. Most states in South-East Asia are confronting with the turning environmental jobs that have been the natural effect of economic growing. Surveies ( Sumiani et al, 2007 ) showed that the undermentioned points contributed to challenges for ongoing research in LCA in Malaysia position.

The debut of LCA as a tool for environmental appraisal

Conducting an LCA for a company is roll uping all inputs and end products into a crystalline stock list. This enable the company to obtain an first-class overview of countries in which stuff and economic economy can be made for the net income of both environment and the company finances.

By including the life rhythm position of all procedures make it possible to acquire an overview of whether inputs could be replaced by less polluting stuffs. Calculating the LCI consequences and recovering impact tonss will find how the pollution affects worlds and environment and provides a comparable impact value that may be used in selling in a planetary market that is get downing to get environmentally witting production.

The demand of fixing Malayan standardization and weighting criterions

It is a important move to use Malayan standardization and weighting criterions and develop the handiness of life rhythm related input-output informations in order to be expeditiously carried out precise LCAs in Malaysia for the future application. In present, Malaysia is missing a big graduated table stock list for industries, families, transit and public/government/commercial establishment to map out the full environmental impacts from the state.

The above affairs should be considered by a panel of local experts with the aim of fixing Malayan standardization and weighting criterions. It is besides of import that the authorities give some strengthen on the regulations to the industries to record and do available their input-output stock lists.

Incentives for presenting cleaner engineering

The increasing of consciousness among the industries in doing a cleaner engineering investing is parallel to the universe market as the universe has set demand for environmentally witting production and that cleaner engineering investings will most frequently make the money back within a comparatively short sum of old ages due to reduced usage of energy and input stuffs.

In order for the industry to do cleaner engineering investings it is of import that inducements are seeable. The authorities and industry representative must therefore agree on e.g. increased duties on electricity and Diesel and/or fiscal support for cleaner engineering investings.


The typical industrializing and urbanizing economic systems rivals are some of the troubles faced by states to develop the sustainable construct. These and other rivals make the chase of sustainable development and instruction and uneffective procurance systems are among the major barriers for sustainable building in the states.

In order to accomplish a sustainable development and committedness towards resource direction, the authorities of Malaysia has really intensified in recent old ages. Legislative and institutional mechanisms have been strengthened that refering to cleaner engineerings and pollution decrease schemes. The industries besides have been implementing assorted environmental protection processes to guarantee conformity to regulative demand.

In general, the industries have been slow to react or are even cognizant of the applications of environmental direction tools such as LCA. Besides the demands for capacities, engineerings and tools, entire committedness by all participants in the industries sectors including authoritiess and the populace at big are required in order to accomplish sustainable development in Malaysia.


The information for this survey is chiefly from the courtesy of SIRIM as the implementing bureau mandated by the Government and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.