The Blog

Every Project gets Live Performance Metrics & Dashboard

posted 1 Aug 2017, 05:57 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 19 Aug 2017, 03:59 ]

Our customers asked for it and we obliged! We have now added a green building performance dashboard feature which provides real time updates on the current green building performance of the project. The dashboard is a visual representation of the current project green building performance and is very useful to share with customers and other project stakeholders. We also have an option of embedding the dashboards in client websites.

Green Building Performance Dashboard

Additionally, we offer live performance metrics for every project. These metrics are designed to communicate in the simplest possible manner the various efficiencies in the building compared to base case performance. It also has a table in the centre which shows the approximate annual operational savings per apartment that each home owner can benefit.

Our project eFacility is the second highest ranking Green Building on the Planet!

posted 1 Aug 2017, 05:14 by Yusuf Turab

We are proud to announce that our project eFacility has achieved the prestigious Platinum rating in the USGBC LEED NC Green Building rating system making it one of the greenest buildings on the planet

Coimbatore has added yet another feather to its cap. It is now home to one of the greenest, smartest and the most automated buildings in the world.

The building, eFacility is the headquarters of SIERRA ODC Private Limited, a Coimbatore based enterprise facility management software company.

eFacility has scored a phenomenal 103 points out of the available 110 points in the LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - New Construction) rating system, making it world's second highest ranking green building rated by Green Building Certification Inc in the New Construction category.

eFacility is the highest ranking green building in India by a distance. The second spot in the New Construction category in India was achieved by Centre for Management of Coastal EcoSystems, Orissa scoring 85 points.

YT Enterprises were principal green building consultants and facilitated the "United States Green Building Council's LEED" certification for Sierra ODC Pvt Ltd, Coimbatore. eFacility, located at Kalapatti, Coimbatore has shown exceptional performance in almost every area of design, construction and operations. It is currently operating at Net Zero Energy and is fully Carbon Neutral in overall operations. It is also a zero discharge development with all the rainwater, wastewater and solid waste being processed and reused within the site.

The only resource that leaves the site is the excess electricity that the building produces through its Building Integrated Photovoltaics and Rooftop Solar System.

The development uses environmentally friendly building materials and high perfromance glass. It has set top standards in reducing environmental impact during construction.

The buildings have been designed to provide excellent indoor environmental quality through improved daylighting, fresh air ventilation and thermal comfort. There are many more factors that have brought about this major milestone:

Click here for more information on eFacility's achievement

eFacility truly offers a peak into how the buildings of the future should be. Sierra ODC are in the process of setting up a Green Learning Center at eFacility, where students, social enthusiasts, industry experts, and the general public can learn and appraise themselves on the impacts and ways to go green.

Visit if you wish to learn more about the standout features of this develoment.
The Platinum Plaque

Look out for our public service hoarding at Coimbatore

posted 15 Feb 2016, 04:48 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 15 Feb 2016, 05:03 ]

Anti Horn Campaign
Waterproofing Coimbatore

The new flyer for the new year

posted 1 Jan 2016, 06:28 by Yusuf Turab

Waterproofing, Landscaping, Cool Roof and Green Building India

Green Roof & Living Walls Coimbatore

Costs and Benefits of Green Building Design

posted 14 Sep 2015, 11:00 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 14 Sep 2015, 11:00 ]

My answer to the following question on Quora:

Costs: How much does it cost and what are the benefits of a green building design?

If I understand your question correctly, you seem to want to know what are the costs of designing a green building and not the actual costs of building one.

If that is exactly your question, then yes, designing a green building is significantly more expensive than designing a conventional building. Simply because it is a lot more time consuming and also requires an integrated approach among all stake holders.

Repeatedly bringing all consultants to one forum and analysing building performance vs pre-set goals costs money and time. Various analysis like energy simulations, water balance, ventilations and comfort analysis, daylighting etc can often go on for months before a perfect combination of design, materials and execution strategy is arrived at.

In percentage terms the design phase is by far the most expensive phase of building green compared to building conventional. Contrary to popular belief the actual cost of building the green building may not be significantly higher unless off-course one is trying to create some kind of an environmental show-piece.

If done smartly a good performance building can also be achieved at same costs as a conventional building. In terms of overall project cost any escalation in costs due to usage of high performance materials or systems is small enough to be absorbed well within the profit margins of the property developer or in case of a self use building the return on investment is quite attractive to justify this minor escalation which rarely goes beyond 5%.

The Benefits
Apart from the well known benefits of a green building that have been well discussed on this forum; I think the biggest benefit of green buildings is that it demands the designers to be ahead of the curve.

By their inherent nature green buildings require an integrated approach among project teams which in turn ensures the building plans are frozen well in advance. Knowing a product in and out well before its created improves its marketability and also reduces costs.

No doubt that conventional buildings can follow the approach mentioned above but this almost never happens because conventional buildings have conventional goals which requires conventional management techniques and there is no push for the project teams to get out of their comfort zones. Hence, designs are created as and when required without the involvement of team members working in other areas.

In my experience, costs are rarely a deterrent to practising green building design as there is already a fairly attractive business model in place. But it is the requirement to get out of the comfort zone, working in an integrated manner with other teams, delivering results early, spending disproportionate time finalising materials and systems and other complications that go with designing a high performance building that puts developers and project teams off.

Nobody wants to fix something unless there is unanimous agreement that its broken. Humans are the largest herd on the planet. Very few breakaway successfully and until they do the others have no one to follow.

Article by: Yusuf Turab
Y T Enterprises

Build Your Own Rainwater Filter

posted 28 Jun 2015, 01:07 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 28 Jun 2015, 05:32 ]

Harvesting, storing and reusing rainwater is one of the first steps to creating a resilient built environment. The success of any rainwater harvesting system largely depends on the quality of the filtration mechanism. There are many different techniques to filtering rainwater; the right choice of filter largely depends on the final use of the output water.

Assuming the stored rainwater is going to be used for external purposes like washing clothes or general purpose cleaning, a barrel filter is the most economical, simple to make and easy to maintain option. Here is how we made one:

Step 1: Choose the right barrel and attach a drain fitting

The bigger the barrel, more filtration medium can be added and hence a better quality output. At the same time bigger barrels are harder to manoeuvre and more tedious to maintain. The maximum capacity of a barrel filter should be no more that 250 litres and the minimum capacity should be 50 litres. We have used a 50 litre barrel at our office. Fix a drainpipe such that water is drawn at least 4 inches above the bottom. This allows sediment to settle down at the bottom and also creates a bio-layer around the aggregates at the bottom that removes the pathogens and any traces of nutrient in the water.

Step 2: Fill bottom layer of aggregate

The bottom layer until the drainpipe must be filled with 75mm blue metal. Then add a further two inches of 20mm metal. Ensure these are thoroughly washed in water multiple times. This ensures that there is sufficient space for sediment to settle down and also ensures the drain pipe does not clog.

50 Liter BarrelGravel Filter

Step 3: The active charcoal layer

Place a piece of 150-200 GSM non-woven geo-textile cloth above the aggregate that is cut as per the diameter of the barrel. Then add about four-five inches of charcoal on top. Ensure the charcoal has been dipped in water to remove any residue from its surface. Active charcoal are most effective at removing chlorine, sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), taste and odour from water. 

The geo-textile is non-biodegradable, hence functions as an effective filter medium, it also ensures the contents of the different layers do not get mixed up during use and can also be separated easily at the time of maintenance.

5 inch layer of charcoal
200 GSM geo-textile

Step 4: Add the sand layer

Cover the charcoal with another layer of geo-textile fabric. Then add six to eight inches of clean river sand on top of the geo-textile. The sand layer plays a critical role in the filtration process, hence maximum possible depth must be provided. Cover the sand layer with another geo-textile cloth.

Sand layer
Geo-textile membrane for sand layer

Step 5: The final metal chips layer

Add about 3 inches of clean 10mm metal chips. Spread it evenly and cover this with another piece of geo-textile. This top layer ensures that the water is sufficiently filtered before it enters the sand layer, thereby ensuring the sand layer is not clogged with sediment. The top most piece of geo-textile will gather the most dirt and must be dusted off whenever required. Place some weight over the top cloth to ensure it does not get blown away in the wind.

10mm metal chips layer
Final layer in the rainwater harvesting filter

Points to be considered

  1. Such a filter will not remove all types of bacteria and chemicals. Further treatment is a must if the output water is used for potable purposes.
  2. Having a rainwater filter is not a replacement for the requirement of having a clean catchment area. The terrace must be kept clean at all times.
  3. No rainwater filter is completely maintenance free. An annual clean up of the filter medium must be done to remove any undigested sediment or sludge.
  4. The filter must be sized as per the catchment area and the expected outflow. The 50 litre filter above is sufficient for no more that 500 SqFt of catchment area during peak rainfall.
  5. A provision for first flush must be given to avoid the acidic content found in the first rain of the season.
  6. A provision for overflow from the storage tank must be added.
  7. If feasible, carry out water tests of the filtered water before using it indoors.
  8. No amount of reading articles on the internet will replace the trial and error method. So go out there and make one yourself and find out how rewarding rainwater harvesting can be.

What is the general job description of a green building consultant?

posted 30 Mar 2015, 05:40 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 30 Mar 2015, 05:40 ]

I have been running this Green Building consulting firm, Y T Enterprises for the last four years. We are doing various projects that are on their way to getting certified through various rating systems like LEED, GRIHA, IGBC Green Homes, Green New Buildings rating and Green Factory.

The basic role of a green building consultant is to help the project team make a better building with features that benefit the final occupants and owners of the building. Most of this has to be achieved with minimum cost escalation.

A green building consultant needs to be technically sound in almost all areas of construction and operations of the building, even more than the architect in most cases because architects do not normally get involved with the nitty gritties of the MEP services. Where as the green building consultant has to provide his stamp of approval in almost all areas of design and planning.

Apart from the technical knowledge about buildings and their environmental performance, the green building consultant needs to have excellent project mana
gement skills and marketing skills. Marketing skills are specially important because if you cannot sell the benefits of the green building project to its investors the whole idea becomes economically pointless.
Green Building Facilitation
The scope of work of a green building consultant is listed below. I may have missed a few things but at the crux of it all; this is it.
  • Manage entire Green Building rating compliance and documentation process.
  • Current design feedback, project acceptance and then project registration with the certification body
  • Creating a project strategy to save energy and water; recommend  eco-friendly materials, optimise indoor environmental quality and create  a sustainable site.
  • Conduct water audits, waste water management and rainwater harvesting studies.
  • Regular meetings with all stake holders making  it clear well advance the requirement to meet each credit and assigning  responsibility for the same.
  • Creating energy models, daylight simulations of all buildings to demonstrate compliance with energy efficiency, IEQ requirements of the Green Building rating program.
  • Performing all measurement and verification of credits as per the Green Building rating program
  • Compiling all documentation, photos, technical specification, various  calculations, getting the required authorisation letters and signatures  from stake holders and any other write ups and documentation required by  the certification body to carry out the assessment of the project.
  • Duly  submitting all documentation to the certification body and act as a one point contact for  the evaluators and respond to any clarifications they might require.
  • Regular site visits to keep the contractors up to date on the  requirements and to ensure the criteria are stringently followed.
  • Identifying and recommending suppliers for green building material and services procurement.
  • Being accountable if any targeted credit is missed due to poor  submissions or due to misinformation provided to the responsible stake  holder.
The good green building consultant should be able to provide the following deliverables and benefits to his/her clients:
  • Introduce best practises in energy & water management.
  • Provide accurate energy efficiency and water efficiency data.
  • Help minimise waste during construction and introduce best practises in waste management post occupancy.
  • Improving indoor environmental quality to meet minimum daylighting and ventilation requirements.
  • Introduce best practises in improving quality of life and maximising productivity.
  • Compiling a Green Building Owner's Manual complete with green building  features, how to lead a green lifestyle, maintenance tasks and other  operational information.
  • Staff training and awareness on project green features.
  • Providing any guidance to a stake holder if necessary.
  • Provide assistance in creating a clear marketing campaign and help  generate awareness of the GREEN credentials of the project. This  includes creating an online presence for the project, writing a case  study, blog articles etc.
  • Provide any other sustainability related advice, service and assistance within scope.
The  general impression is that a green building consultant simply compiles all documentation required to demonstrate compliance with the various green building rating systems. But the truth is that a good green building consultant should ideally bring a lot more to the table.

Due to the nature of their job, green building consultants are naturally focussed on efficiency in every aspect, even their day to day living. This makes them ideal candidates for handling projects where more needs to be done with less. The project owner should be in a position put his faith in this individual and ideally use him as his right hand man when it comes to making project decisions.

Green Buildings in India - The GRIHA Approach

posted 12 Sep 2014, 01:02 by Yusuf Turab

Our Brand BuildScape now has a new Identity

posted 24 Aug 2014, 07:22 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 24 Aug 2014, 07:54 ]

Our brand BuildScape under which we offer solutions such as Green Roof, Living Walls, Specialised Landscaping, Cool Roof and Building Waterproofing now has a new identity. With some significant investments in personnel and equipment we are now well placed to make our clients' buildings healthy, safe and sustainable.

Y T Enterprises BuildScape Logo

GREEN is the new COOL and COOL is the new GREEN

posted 7 Aug 2014, 10:50 by Yusuf Turab   [ updated 7 Aug 2014, 10:54 ]

Green Roofs and Cool Roofs have become a very important component of sustainable urban development within the last 30 years. Growing environmental awareness and the striking economical and ecological advantages are the driving forces for this great success. Cool Roofs specially are growing at a rapid pace with plenty of research dollars being spent on improving the performance of cool roof products. 

At present, Green Roofs and rooftop gardens can be found in most big cities around the world, benefiting the urban environment and their inhabitants. Green roofs are yet to catch on in a big way in India mainly due to the higher upfront costs and the common issues surrounding lack of water or maintenance personnel. One hopes this scenario will change soon with coming in of low cost natural waste water treatment and reuse systems along with automated irrigation.

Green Roof in Coimbatore
Green roofs provide unparalleled benefits
Most building design professionals around the world have hugely underestimated the value green roofs add to the environment. Especially in warmer countries like India a well irrigated green roof can provide much higher savings in energy compared to a cool roof (or even an insulated roof in non air-conditioned buildings). The premier green roof industry association, 'Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ has listed all the benefits of green roofs:

Private Benefits
  • Energy efficiency - Through greater insulation offered by green roofs
  • Improved health and well being - The reduced pollution and increased water quality that green roofs bring can decrease demands on the health care system.
  • Urban agriculture - Green roofs can be used to setup small organic food gardens
  • Roof durability - By preventing large temperature variations between climates roofs are less likely to crack.
  • Fire retardation - Since green roofs have a much lower burning heat load in comparison to conventional roofs
  • Reduction in electromagnetic radiation - Green roofs are known to reduce the electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices by 99.4% (Herman 2003)
  • Noise reduction - Green have excellent noise attenuation and can reduce noise penetration by up to 40 decibels
  • Enhanced marketability - Green roofs add value since they are the most identifiable feature of a green building.
Public Benefits
  • Increased biodiversity - Green roofs can sustain a variety of plants and invertebrates, and provide a habitat for various bird species.
  • Aesthetic Improvement - Green Roofs are visually enhancing the quality of life in the cities.
  • Waste diversion - By prolonging the service of the HVAC equipment through decreased use.
  • Storm water retention - A 6 inch green roof can hold up to 50 mm of rainfall. It also delays the run off reducing the pressure on storm-water drains.
  • Urban heat island effect - Through the daily evapotranspiration plants cool the city in the hot summer months.
  • Improved air quality - The plants and soil on green roofs can capture airborne pollutants, atmospheric deposition and filter noxious gases.
  • New amenity space - Green roofs can positively affect the urban environment by increasing amenity and green space.
The working of a green roof
Green Roofs are comprised of a number of different layers all of which have different and related functions that have to work in concert with each other to avoid costly repairs in the future. The green roof at minimum must consist the following layers to be effective, durable and safe:
  1. Concrete finish with gradient for water flow
  2. High quality waterproofing
  3. Root barrier
  4. Drainage layer
  5. Geotextile filter
  6. Light weight & water retaining growing medium
  7. Plants (grass, sedums, aliums, herbs etc)
No green roof is maintenance free. It requires regular irrigation and periodic trimming, weeding, fertilising, termite checks etc. The regular irrigation actually provides radiant cooling to the floor below and evaporative cooling to the surrounding spaces. Hence it is important to identify a sustainable water source like treated used water or harvested rainwater so that the green roof can be kept moist at most times without compromising the quantity of fresh water available to the building occupants.

The most common question people ask about green roofs is 'Does it not leak?’. Well, absolutely not, provided the roof has been designed and installed by professionals who understand the interactions the green roofs' have with the building throughout its life. The waterproofing ensures that no moisture penetrates the roof surface. Even if the waterproof layer fails, it may not necessarily be a cause for concern in concrete structures with a good gradient. In a green roof all moisture retention and organic activity is happening an inch above the surface of the roof, separated by the drainage layer. So essentially the root barrier and the green roof are separated by an air gap which ensures any additional water simply flows away through this layer just like it would in a conventional roof. In fact there is lesser possibility of moisture penetration through a green roof as the waterproof layer lasts longer since it is well protected from the fluctuating environment outside. Building owners should be more worried about moisture penetration if they do not have a green roof installed as opposed to having one.

Cool Roof in Coimbatore
What is a Cool Roof ?
A cool roof reflects and emits the sun’s heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building below. “Coolness” is measured by two properties, solar reflectance and thermal emittance. Both properties combined together gives us the product's Solar Reflective Index (SRI). The SRI is measured from 0 to 100 and the higher the value, the “cooler” the roof. Any roof with an SRI of above 80 is considered by most building codes as a Cool Roof.

What are the Benefits of a Cool Roof?
A Cool Roof can
  • Increase occupant comfort by keeping the building cooler during hot summer months.
  • Cut costs
    • by reducing the need for air-conditioning, and extending the life of cooling equipment. Studies have shown typical cooling energy savings of 10-30% in cooling energy and an extension in the life of cooling equipment.
    • by decreasing roof maintenance costs (cool roofs are expected to last longer than the average roof).
  • Address air pollution and Global Warming concerns by lowering CO2 and other emissions associated with fossil fuel-generated electricity used for air-conditioning.
  • Reduce the “Urban Heat Island Effect” by reflecting heat back to the atmosphere. An Urban Heat Island occurs when a city is hotter than the surrounding rural areas due to dark surfaces, like roofs and roads that absorb heat from the sun, and less shading vegetation.
  • Help with Green Building Compliance since a growing number of building codes have cool roof requirements.
Cool Roofs are also fairly economical and are well suited for retrofitting on existing buildings. Even for buildings that do not face too much heat gain issues from the roof, it is usually not a bad idea to use cool roof coatings to carry out the occasional roof maintenance. Most Cool Roof coatings last at least 5 years and provide an added benefit of waterproofing as well, which helps improve the durability of the roof.

Drawbacks of Cool Roof
Some of the drawbacks we noticed after installing a large Cool Roof at our home were that soon after installation the roof reflectivity was too high during the day making it very uncomfortable to the eyes. This excess reflectivity goes away in a few weeks as dust settles on the roof. But the dust also reduces the performance of the roof because the dust particles heat up quickly and the reduced reflectivity allows for lot of the heat to conduct through the coating into the slab below. A cool roof has to be kept fairly clean for its performance to remain intact. In many cases, this rarely happens because the roof is the most ignored area of most buildings.

Green roofs on the other hand provide a lot more benefits and also encourage occupants to use the roof for recreational purposes. If cost is no bar and ongoing maintenance is not an issue then a green roof should always be the first choice for any project team.

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