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COEB422 Engineers in Society
Dr Fazrena Azlee Bt Hamid
Semester 1, 2014/15
Course Outcome 3
Able to relate the engineering field with sustainable development
(environment, social and economic)
PO7 Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of professional
engineering solutions in environmental contexts and the need for
sustainable development
1. The present: Engineers & Engineering
2. Development to Sustainable Development
3. What is Sustainability?
4. Why does it matter?
5. What is it to Sustain?
6. Sustainability and Engineers
7. Sustainability and Engineering
8. Sustainable Development in Malaysia
The present: Engineers & Engineering
Engineering and engineers have experienced a varied public image
throughout the history of the profession.
In the days of the great Victorian advances, engineers were heroes of the
day and received almost celebrity status.
During the first half of the 20th century, engineering was widely perceived
as the profession of innovators who worked to satisfy a growing desire for
products and services and who offered an improved standard of living.
In the past few decades, globally however, the public face of engineering
has slipped somewhat and engineers frequently have been portrayed as
ruthless destroyers of the environment whose creations put the health and
well-being of the public at risk.
The present: Engineers & Engineering
The focus for many engineers throughout this time has been on producing
physical outputs, but the actual essence of engineering is more fundamental
and the visible artifacts are merely the outward evidence of a deeper service
given by engineers.
The engineering profession exists to provide for the needs of man and as a
result of its activities has a major impact on:
A) the world ~ the quantity of non-renewable resources used and the quality of
the natural environment (environmental system)
B) on its people ~ the services needed to support human gatherings (social
It is also likely to require (and generate) large amounts of money (economic
5 Development to Sustainable Development
By looking around us, we realize that as development takes place in
humans life, the scarcity of resources continues along with a negative
impact of the environment.
Like it OR Not, effectively, the objective of engineering has to be redefined
from `development' to `sustainable development',
from the open and unfettered application of technology to the `creative
application of technology to achieve sustainable development
Sustainable development is concerned with balancing the various aspects of
economic, social, and environmental issues, but it is not an end state in itself, but
rather is the route towards an optimal solution.
Sustainable development is primarily about making improvements and decisions
in a beneficial direction towards a better future for the generations to come.
Sustainability - definitions
A condition in which natural and social systems survive and thrive together
Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the
present generation without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their needs
Sustainability - definitions
UNESCO UN Decade for Sustainable Development:
Sustainability is a systemic concept, relating to the continuity of economics,
social institutional, and environmental aspects of human society.
It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activities so
that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and
express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and
natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these
ideals indefinitely.
Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to
the entire planet.
UNESCO is the lead agency for the UN Decade of Education for
Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
*UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization
Why does it matter?
Social inequity
Environmental upsets
Global climate change and ozone depletion
Species extinction
Increase in waste (2 4 lbs / day)
Global carrying capacity limits (is mother natured stressed up ?):
I = P x A x T
I = environmental impact or stress
P = Population
A = Affluence or consumption levels
T = Material or energy intensity (usage)
Uncertainty of the future
What is to be Sustained?
Dimensions and Objectives:
Resource Consumption:
minimize the consumption of matter and energy
Ecosystem Impacts:
minimize negative environmental impacts
Human Satisfaction:
satisfy human needs and aspirations
What is to be Sustained?
Example: Transportation
Economic Sustainability
Human Capital
Often simply refers to labor
More subtly, the ability of an individual to produce or increase income:
Right Values
Activities that increase human capital
Medical care
Environmental Sustainability
Maintenance of Natural Capital
Ecosystem services that enable life
Stocks of raw materials
Flows of renewable resources
Capacity to assimilate wastes
Output Rule:
Waste emission cant exceed assimilative capacity of local
Input Rule:
Renewables: Harvest rates should be within regenerative rates
Non-renewables: Harvest rates should be below that rate at which
renewable substitutes are developed
Social Sustainability
Social Capital
No Consensus definition
Knowledge and rules of interaction in culture and institutions
Legal system
Social Sustainability general includes addressing basic needs of population
Recognitions of social issues in traditional development economics predate
environmental concerns
Income distribution
Quality of life
Institutional participation
Increasing choice
Sustainability and Engineers
Sustainability and Engineers
Requires an understanding of:
The effect of technology on humans, society and the environment
Approaches to reduce negative effects of technology
Defining the causes of problems
Systems thinking
Innovative, sustainable solutions
Sustainability and Engineers: The
Temporal Context
Our inability to learn from the past and apply that to the future is a major
problem for sustainability
We tend to move towards quick, easy solutions
Traditional product design does not consider end of product life
Budgeting practices look more toward short term returns (no life cycle cost
Incorporating a temporal context (time based) requires an understanding
of life cycle analysis, long term impact assessment and risk management
Requires an understanding of change over time or process thinking
Sustainability and Engineers: The
Leadership Role
As trained professionals, with an understanding of technology, society, the
environment and process thinking, sustainability engineers will have the
capacity and capability to become leaders of society
They must therefore be trained to understand the role of leaders and to
have good leadership skills
Sustainability and the Engineering
Although derived from environmental engineering, sustainability
engineering goes far beyond that discipline
Since it deals with the design, development and management of all
technology in relation to society, it should be brought into all engineering
Sustainability Practices
Because sustainability has a long-term focus, beyond the
life of most engineering projects, products, processes or
systems, methodology and resource used needs to focus
on both short- and long-term factors. This is often far
beyond the duties imposed by professional codes of
Four key sustainability factors for
1. Managing changes in the environment,
2. Ensuring the equity and safety of engineering
3. Holistic problem solving, and
4. Making good existing problems.
1. Managing changes in the
Engineers must thoroughly consider and project or plan that will have a
significant impact on the life support functions upon which human well-
being depends, many of which are irreplaceable. Example,
use and placement of dams on waterways
Minimise waste products, particularly hazardous ones, from the total life
cycle of engineered products, processes or system
2. Equity and safety of engineering
Engineering projects at improving the overall quality of life for humans and
other life forms, but not at the long-term expense of the environment.
Give greater priority to projects, products and processes that decrease
significant gaps in health, security, social recognition, and political
influence between groups of people.
3. Holistic problem solving
Take an integrated systems approach or an overall holistic approach to
considering all stakeholders and the effect on the environment when
attempting to solve problems.
Rather than focusing solely on the technology aspects, and solving one
problem at the expense of another, aim for a co-ordinatedoverall solution.
4. Making good existing problems
Where desirable, and technically and economically practicable, remedy
past environmental degradation. Example,
Land degradation, groundwater contamination and hazardous waste sites
should be considered for stabilisation at a minimum and, wherever possible, total
clean-up to current or foreseeable standards.
Sustainability and Engineering
Sustainability Issues in Engineering
Example I: Mobile Phones
Phases of life cycle of a mobile phone:
Extraction and processing of raw materials
Components manufacture
Transport of components to assembly plant
Phone assembly
Transport of phones to distribution network
Use of phones
End of life
Sustainability Issues in Engineering
Example II: Energy Challenge
Issues on energy:
Global energy use is dominated by fossil fuels
Demand of energy use is exponentially increased
Unequal distribution of energy use
Adverse impacts on global climate
Fast depletion of fossil fuel resources
Social, technical and political issues on usage of nuclear energy
Constraints on other sources of renewable energy
Green Technology is the development and application of products,
equipment and systems used to conserve the natural environment and
resources, which minimises and reduces the negative impact of human
Renewable Energy is any form of primary energy from recurring Energy (RE)
and non-depleting resources, such as agricultural produce, hydro-power,
wind, solar etc.
Energy Efficiency is the efficient use of energy in a manner that Efficiency
(EE) utilises less energy for producing the same output.
Guy (1997) outlines five varying visions of green buildings that are found
throughout society
the ecological, smart, comfort, aesthetic and community visions
Overall policy framework declares that energy services must aim to achieve:
environmental sustainability
a continuing improvement in our energy efficiency
a progressive transition to renewable sources of energy
the lowest possible costs and prices to consumers
prices that reflect the full costs of supply, including environmental costs
reliable and secure supplies of essential energy services
fairness in pricing, so that the least advantaged in the community have
access to energy services at reasonable prices
In the near future, a variety of techniques will be needed to manage traffic
demand, including:
land use planning to deter urban sprawl
road tolling techniques, including congestion
parking supply management and pricing fuel
high occupancy vehicle lanes
more support for walking and cycling
Engineers must also consider when and where sustainable water services
can be achieved and what water infrastructure is required in the local,
regional and national contexts.
Solid wastes (any material, solid, liquid or gas that is unwanted and or
unvalued, and discarded or discharged by its owner) are placing
increasing pressure on the various waste sinks in our environment that are
currently used to accommodate them.
Sustainable Development in

The Government of Malaysia offers attractive incentives to

encourage the generation of Renewable Energy (RE) and the
adoption of Energy Efficiency (EE) initiatives as well as for
improvement of Power Quality (PQ) amongst energy producers
and users in Malaysia and to ensure sustained national economic
development for the future. The Ministry of Energy, Green
Technology and Water (MEGTW) is responsible for the
implementation of national policies relating to RE and EE and
desires to accelerate the adoption of RE and EE initiatives in the
country and the provision of high quality power where required.
Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water
Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia (KeTTHA) was established on 9 April 2009
Industry leader in the Sustainable Development of Energy and the National Water and Green Technology.
To formul ate policies and establish the legal framework and effective regul ation;
Setting the directionfor the energy industry, green technologies and the water industry in line with national
development goals and
Develop an efficient management system and an effective monitoringmechanism.
Ensure the implementationof development policies in the power industry, water and green technology
Ensure the provisionof comprehensive infrastructure, an integrated, standards and quality;
To provide a conducive environment for industrial development and technology;
Provide research and development (R & D) continued to increase in the use of technology;
Ensure service delivery systemthat is efficient, effective and affordable;
Ensuring that the regul atory mechanisms implemented in accordance with the provisions of existing
Improvingthe abilityof the organizationon an ongoing basis to achieve the industry and green
Malaysia Green Technology
Malaysia Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) formerly known
as Pusat Tenaga Malaysia (PTM) was established on 12th May 1998. GreenTech
Malaysia, registered as an independent and non-for-profit organization for
energy research in Malaysia under the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology
and Water.
GreenTech Malaysia functions are:
Implementing Agency in Green Technology
National Lead Manager in the development of Green Technology
Promoting green technology initiatives and programs
Focal point to set standards and database
Coordinating the research, development and applicationrelated to national Green
Technology development
The new scope was the expansion of one-stop centre functions previously
carried out.
Incentives And Financial Support In
Green Technology
To promote the development of green technology activities, the Government:
In the announcement of Budget 2010, the Government has allocated RM1.5
billion as a soft loans to manufacturers and nationwide consumers through the
Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS)
Building owners who have been certified the Green Building Index (GBI) from
24th October 2009 to 31st December 2014 will be granted for the income tax
exemption which is equal to the additional capital expenditure to obtain the
Home buyers who had received the GBI certificate from the developer property
will be given duty stamp exemption on documents of transfer; and
The amount of exemption is equal to the additional cost to obtain the
certificate. This exemption is qualified for buyers who have completed the sale
and purchase of agreement from 24th October 2009 to 31st December 2014.
Lets make a difference to the
world - through sustainable
based upon wise practice of
Past lecture notes of COEB422 on Sustainability by Assoc Prof Dr. Ir. Lariyah
Mohd. Sidek & Assoc Prof Dr Ir Faris Tarlochan.
Past lecture notes of COEB422 on Sustainability Principles by Assoc Prof. Dr
Ir Au Mau Teng.
Other Resources
Handbook: Incentives for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency & Green
Buildings in Malaysia by KeTTHA(2009)
Sustainable Development Initiatives in Malaysia (2010), Malaysia
Productivity Corporation (MPC)
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE (2009), International Institute of
Sustainable Development