Low impact housing project wins OSRAM's 'FREE retrofit LED’ competition 1


The winner is 50 Degrees North Architects for its highly innovative total refurbishment of a seaside bungalow in West Sussex, which will be using OSRAM LEDs and ‘Lightify’.

50 Degree North Architects, based in Richmond, London, has won for innovation in the proposedOSRAM based LED lighting systems to be installed in an extensively refurbished bungalow on the South Coast at West Wittering, near Chichester in West Sussex.

This RIBA Chartered practice provides services including sustainable design, conservation and restoration, contract administration, full architectural service, drawing service, community planning and participation, production information, design for special needs, planning advice, plus architects’ service and fee advice.

Specialising in the design of new build homes, whole house remodeling and refurbishment, home extensions and loft conversions, 50 Degree North Architects says: “We have a passion for residential architecture and love to create beautiful homes which function magnificently.”

Clearly, an important part of the firm’s projects is the lighting, for which it won this OSRAM ‘Ambassadors’ scheme.

The project

The lighting system will be installed in a whole house refurbishment and extension known as ‘The West Wittering Beach House’. This brick and block bungalow, dating from the 1960s is being totally modernised inside and out, with an extension too. The owner and developer is Leigh Bowen (RIBA), founder and director of 50 Degrees North Architects. He and his wife will own the refurbished house as a holiday home, also letting it for holidays.

This arrangement will undoubtedly help make this £160,000 refurbishment innovative, fresh, energy efficient and low carbon, because Leigh additionally sees the home as being a low energy and exciting showcase for what the firm can do, and to gain a business toehold in the area too.

The refurbishment is ongoing with completion scheduled for August 2016. The lighting design has not yet been finalised, but its rationale is clear. Full details of the finalised lighting design – including all OSRAM LED lighting aspects – will be covered in a future article.

Lower impact housing

Commenting on his firm’s approach, Leigh Bowen says: “As architects, we are always on the lookout for a project we can experiment with in terms of what we call ‘lower impact housing’, while at the same time, we enjoy it.”
Leigh’s father-in-law Bob Harris is a lecturer in Ecological Building and his knowledge and expertise have rubbed off on a number of 50 Degree North Architects’ projects, including this one.

For a start, all of the lighting installation will use OSRAM LED light sources for long life, good light, energy saving, and all the other benefits that LEDs confer. LED lighting is to be employed for general, mood and task lighting in the refurbished house.

But The West Wittering Beach House will also be a ‘smart home’, with control via local modular intelligent wall plates (by MK Electric), as well as from smart phones and tablets. Take the lighting, for example. Integrated presence detectors (PIR) will sense when somebody is in a corridor at night (say the kids going to the loo), bringing the relevant lights on as a safety feature. Of course, presence detection can also be used to reduce energy usage, by turning off the lighting in unoccupied spaces.

Connected and ‘specific’ lighting

This smart home aspect will be helped by OSRAM’s innovative connected lighting system, Lightify, which was primarily chosen for its colour and brightness changing mood effects. Leigh Bowen enthused: “Lightify represents a very exciting lighting development and one that we’ll be using for specific applications, such as mood and task lighting.”

Indeed, Leigh emphasises his firm’s drive towards what he calls ‘the virtues of simple, specific lighting’, saying: “We don’t believe in what many people do, which is to throw lighting at a space, with loads of unnecessary lighting sources to provide twinkly effects.

“We prefer”, he said, “to use fewer light sources where possible in carefully designed and often bespoke fittings. For example we’ll have general, task and mood lighting, all designed to be as efficient as possible – not just in energy terms but for functionality in given spaces.

The lighting designer on this project is Richard Voller, who 50 Degrees North Architects have worked with before. He has what he calls ‘a balanced approach to lighting design aimed at meeting the challenges of form, performance, efficiency and cost’, and has come up with very subtle ceiling lighting, with the LED light sources and fittings concealed within troffers. This will be a key feature, and again, will represent lighting only where it is needed in terms of function, like minimum lux levels and so on, yet it will be highly effective in appearance.

Furthermore, there will be cleverly designed and concealed interior lighting at skirting board level, and use will also be made of LED strip lighting to delineate certain architectural features. In addition, external lighting will be a feature, such as presence controlled lighting by the entrance lobby, plus careful selective illumination of the garden.

The specific OSRAM LED light sources have yet to be chosen (although Lightify will definitely be used) and the design is such that all internal lighting will comprise fixed energy efficient fittings that will only take light sources having a luminous efficacy greater than 40 lumens / circuit watt.

50 Degree North Architects have previously worked with other lighting companies. They consider it a fantastic opportunity to use state of the art lighting in a way that they have never used before. OSRAM gives this architectural practice’s project the plus factor because of the company’s sheer lighting expertise and its big range of high quality products. Lightify was also seen as being a decider.

Other novel features

Additional building features include excellent insulation, mineralised concrete foundations and floor screeds, domestic flue gas heat recovery as well as newly invented automatic nitrogen/dissolved air removal technology for the heating systems. The use of a shielded cable will help ensure that the occupants of The West Wittering Beach House don’t sit in a sea of electromagnetic radiation. This latter aspect is not one that most architects, developers and builders will concern themselves about, but 50 Degrees North Architects does…it’s all in the detail, plus its drive towards low impact housing.

Solar PV and electric vehicle charging

An up-to-the-minute addition to The West Wittering Beach House refurbishment will be a small roof-mounted solar PV array that will be used to trickle charge the hot water heating system, plus an electric vehicle charge point (either a charge post or dedicated wall socket – it’s not been decided yet).

50 Degree North Architects want to use electric cars, and when Leigh Bowen and his wife drive to the house from London to stay, they aim to do so using an electric car that runs on half priced electricity achieved by charging the car with Economy 7 cheap rate electricity. 50 Degree North Architects are exploring the opportunity of storing the Economy 7 electricity in 10kW worth of batteries for use with the car.

Other involved participants

The main contractor on this refurbishment is Bartos Building of Godalming and the ecological building consultant is Bob Harris, who was the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Master Builder of the Year for 2005 and 2008 for Energy Efficiency. Bob was also previously a lecturer in Ecological Building at Kingston University and is a long standing member of the House of Commons / Lords ‘All Party Parliamentary Environment Group’.

In total, this makes The West Wittering Beach House a highly innovative yet affordable application of a dedicated, specific lighting system with all lighting via OSRAM LEDs, and with Lightify for additional mood and task lighting. As such, this project is the clear winner of the OSRAM Voltimum Ambassadors scheme.

There will be a follow-up to this article soon, which will concentrate upon details of The West Wittering Beach House’s lighting scheme – its rationale and benefits. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

And finally – the OSRAM / Voltimum scheme itself

What was this innovative OSRAM scheme? How did it work? How many entrants were there? Who was the winning entry and how was it chosen?

It worked like this – Voltimum teamed up with OSRAM to bring an exclusive offer to any of our users who have a retrofit LED lighting project on the horizon. It could be, we said, any type and size of LED lighting project. All you had to do was tell us about your lighting project experience and allow us to run a case study about the project on OSRAM’s and Voltimum’s websites.

The winner would then become a Voltimum / OSRAM Ambassador, receiving the LED lighting required for the project for free. He, she or the company involved would also obtain free installation advice and the excellent marketing opportunities for your design and/or installation business that OSRAM’s and Voltimum’s online coverage will bring you.

Many of our lighting (and other) users took part, with Voltimum forwarding the entries to OSRAM, which chose the best – and what a winning project it is!