Lighting Design for a Sustainable Passive-Solar Home

This award winning home, with interiors designed by White Pebble Interiors, and where Mint Lighting carefully designed the use of lighting to enhance key features, and ensure liveability in every room.  All the decorative pendants in the home are within the interior design by White Pebble Interiors, and the architectural and functional lighting was designed by Mint.  Our key focus in the design was to minimise energy consumption throughout the home through effective selection of LED luminaires, and by avoiding downlights and recessed lighting to minimise the impact on the building envelope.  Our technical team also provided a specialist modification to enable the stunning textured pendant in the main bathroom, selected by White Pebble Interiors, to be hung directly over a bath - safely, and in compliance with AS3000 regulations. 


Interior Designer and Home Owner, Frances Cosway contacted Mint Lighting Design for technical and creative architectural lighting design solutions to craft the right light for her new home in Hampton.  We worked closely with Frances to enhance the key texture and colour elements of her Interior Design using carefully crafted light to create a home that both showcases her talent as an Interior Designer, and was lit to suit the flexible needs of daily family life.  Frances’ creativity and detail in pendant selection brings the wow factor to the lighting in the home, supported by discreet lighting that focusses attention on other decorative elements and ensures that the home is comfortable and functional.

Through consultations with Frances and her husband, we clarified the design brief for the lighting and then developed the concept and specification.  Sustainability, function and luxury were the key elements for the design.

The most important element for this design was avoiding downlights.  Not just for aesthetic reasons, but also to maintain the integrity of their “Passive House” building design, and achieve the best possible energy results.

The blend of Frances exacting Interior Design and MINT’s lighting design, resulted in a home that is a delight to live in, and also won the home “Bayside’s Best Ecological Sustainable Design in 2015”.

• Key Issues/Goals/Problems

Designed with a strong focus on Passive Solar Home Design (utilising the building design to minimise heating and cooling requirements) required making the most of materials to create the right living environment, with minimal footprint.  In keeping with this design philosophy, the lighting needed to be carefully considered so as not to impact on the building envelope and reduce the thermal integrity of the home.  Where recessed lighting was used, it was to achieve specific lighting effects, and the light fittings were fully sealed to minimise air loss.  Wherever possible, lighting was mounted on the walls or ceiling surface.  By using LED lighting strategically, we created a brightly lit home, that also enhances the interior design.

The biggest challenge for the lighting design arose when Frances wanted a beautiful, textured pendant over the bath.  It is illegal to install 240V lighting suspended from a ceiling over a bath – for obvious safety reasons.  However, the team at MINT determined a safe, compliant method for modifying the pendant to be safely installed, allowing Frances to complete the interior design of her bathroom exactly the way she wanted to.  The resulting design won White Pebble Interiors a feature in House & Garden’s Top 50 rooms for 2015. 

This project is a great example of technical ingenuity and understanding of light in collaboration with talented interior design creating a beautiful, homely and ecologically sound home.  Which just goes to prove – the right team can build the perfect results in any environment.  Add to that the determination to achieve the right design results, and some creative lateral thinking, and anything is possible.

Our Key Design Criteria:

·         No downlights

·         Minimalist Lighting that doesn’t detract from the modern design

·         Minimal energy consumption

·         Light where it is needed – specific to the application in the room and the design features

·         Minimise penetrations in the ceiling and impact on insulation

·         Use light to create mood, and define the zones of the open living area

In the end, the home is beautifully designed, with interiors crafted by White Pebble Interiors, enhanced with light from MINT.  The MINT lighting design team treats every project as unique, and sources the best lighting for any budget, from a wide range of suppliers, giving us the flexibility to craft the right results every time.