Introduction

A building occupies land, alters the ground and vegetation, prevents the percolation of rainwater into the ground, interrupts the flow of wildlife through the area, and consumes resources, labor, materials, and fuel. The design of the building has an enormous impact on the environment, both present and future. Once completed, the building continues to use finite resources to power, heat, cool, and maintain the building for about 100 years (Lee, 2007). However, to not build is not a solution. Buildings and structures enabled mankind to meet their social needs for shelter, to meet economic needs for investment, and to satisfy corporate objectives. It changes people's lifestyle, improves people's standard of living, and modernized a community. The construction industry is regarded as an essential and highly visible contributor to the process of growth of one country. Nevertheless, the adverse impacts to the environment lead to a growing realization and acceptance throughout the world that there is a need for a more responsible approach to the environment. The opportunity for improvement arrived when a new philosophy called 'sustainable development' was introduced in 1987 in Brundtland Report. Since that, many progressive world events had taken place to increase the awareness on environment and sustainability agendas such as Rio Earth Summit 1992, Maastricht Treaty 1992, Kyoto Conference on Global Warming 1997, Johannesburg Earth Summit 2002, and Washington Earth Observation Summit 2003 (Zainul Abidin, 2005). The ideas and strategies initiated by these world events have prompted positive actions and plans by many countries to implement and absorb this philosophy within their industries. Subset to this philosophy is sustainable construction, which described the responsibility of the construction industry to attain sus-tainability. Formulating a robust strategy to improve sustainable construction knowledge and acceptance is a significant milestone in the construction industry to becoming more socially and environmentally responsible, not only for each construction project, but also for its stakeholders. It creates a framework within which the industry can make a strong contribution to a better future.

I. Dincer et al. (eds.), Global Warming, Green Energy and Technology,

DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-1017-2_24, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Building sustainably has many merits but applying this concept is not easy as it requires changes to the old ways. Delivering sustainable construction requires action from all engaged in constructing and maintaining the structure or building including those providing design, consulting, and construction services. To increase the consideration to sustainability, the construction practitioners must be willing to change their behavior in exploring new territory and willing to adopt new products, ideas, and practices. Because of the merits and the growing interest on building sustainably, the race is now on for researchers and construction practitioners worldwide to put their best foot forward and initiate actions to reduce the negative impacts of development and sharpen their competitive edge. As global interest on sustainability is steadily blooming, Malaysia should not fall short in its attitude on sustainability and sustainable construction. Malaysia needs to demonstrate that it can abide by this new interest and can compete in the global market.

This chapter delves into the actions undertaken by the Malaysian government, non-government organizations, and construction players in promoting sus-tainability in construction. Through extensive literature review, this chapter will discuss the commitment of the Malaysian government on sustainability agenda and the progress so far in the construction industry. This chapter will also discuss the findings from a survey conducted to investigate the awareness of the developers regarding this issue and whether those developers have absorbed the concept of sustainable construction in their current practices.

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