SIERRA’s eFACiLiTY®: A smart high performance building

An ultra-low energy commercial building

SIERRA’s eFACiLiTY® is a 25,000 sft software development centre in Coimbatore, India.The building leverages cutting-edge automation and IoT- including SIERRA’s flagship facility management software called eFACiLiTY to reduce its carbon footprint. The webinar brought on board the CEO – Mr. Giridhar JG and the green building consultant – Mr. Yusuf Tarab to share insights behind this smart, high-performance building.

When he first conceptualized the software development centre, Mr. Giridhar was committed to building one of the greenest buildings, especially for ensuring the health and wellness of his employees. When Mr. Yusuf came on board, the team identified LEED rating system as a useful framework for achieving various performance goals. The project went on to become the second highest Platinum certified building under LEED v2009 NC rating system. But the team did not stop here. They ensured the building maintained high operational efficiency as well.  Let’s look at some of the project’s strategies and challenges as discussed in the webinar.

The building is extremely energy efficient with an Energy Performance Index (EPI) of 56.2 KWh/m2/year (as on December 2020). Energy demand has been first reduced by building design with strategies such as 18-inch walls that provide thermal mass, high-performance glazing and cool roof. The Variable  Refrigerant Flow system of exceptional Energy Efficiency Ratio of 13.85 has been selected for space conditioning.

The project has utilized available space on the site as much as possible to install solar renewable systems to meet the energy demand of the building. In addition to the 60 KW rooftop solar PV system and a 4.3 KW Building Integrated PhotoVoltaic (BIPV) on the southern facade, a 20 KW bi-facial rooftop solar panel has also been installed recently in 2020. This meets 80% of the energy demand and about 33% of the energy use further reducing the EPI to 18.8 KWh/m2/year. Further, the project has purchased renewable energy certificates to offset the residual energy demand through clean energy making this a carbon neural building.

Many smart facility management features have been deployed to ensure optimal performance during ongoing operations. 100% automation and integration with the Building Management System (BMS) take the building to the next level of efficiency. For example, public areas are not only fitted with occupancy sensors but also with lux level sensors, to reduce artificial lighting usage. Another pioneering innovation is the Demand-controlled Diesel Generator which is designed to kick-in only when the battery backup reaches a critically low level, thus cutting down carbon emissions. The building also reports operational performance through the LEED Arc platform and has achieved an outstanding score of 31/33 under the Energy category.

Let’s now discuss the strategies to reduce water consumption. Since Coimbatore city faces severe water scarcity, the design team ensured that the eFACiLiTY® was a zero-discharge building, with 80% lesser per capita water consumption compared to the  baseline. Even the VRF system was deliberately designed to be air-cooled, rather than water-cooled.

The carbon-neutral building uses a host of strategies to enhance occupant wellness while reducing its carbon footprint. For instance, amenities like gymnasium and cafeteria provided within the building help reduce transport emissions. So does the subsidized employee housing located strategically within walkable distance of the building. The building also encourages use of Electric Vehicles (EVs) for commute.  This innovative project demonstrates practical and scalable strategies for enhancing occupant wellness while minimizing its carbon footprint.

Learn more about the project on


This webinar was conducted live on 12 September 2019.

Giridhar JG | CEO, SIERRA

CEO of SIERRA, a 20-year-old software company located at Coimbatore. He has created ‘eFACiLiTY®’, a leading Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software that integrates with all popular Building Management Systems (BMS).

Yusuf Tarab | Managing Director, InHabit & BuildScape

An Ecopreneur and an accredited Green Building Consultant, he is passionate about tapping into smart systems for enhancing performance of buildings.

Q. Operating & maintaining green buildings can have several challenges. What was the experience with this project?
Overall, the building performance is fantastic. Automation has helped us a lot to monitor the buildiing performance.

Q. What were metrics used to validate daylighting?
We used UDI and accepted levels were within 120 lux- 2000 lux. 86% of the floor area within that UDI

Q. How do you maintain the solar PV system?
We used an automated sprinkler system twice a day to keep the panels and cool and clean. We still require manual clearning, especially under windy conditons.

Q. What software tools were used to analyze the facades for BIPV?
Onyx solar helped us design the BIPV. We weren’t involved in the calculations.

Q. What were the cost implications of automation?
The BMS software and hardware cost about 4-5% of the total cost. The benefits outweighed the investment. Further, we were able to reduce the capacity of HVAC and lighting systems by 50% and cosequently saved on capital costs. We were able to use these savings for automation. Of course, some systems like the Somfy motorized blinds were expensive. But overall, automation is not very expensive for a building of our size.

View webinar presentation –SIERRA eFACiLiTY

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