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The snow is melting and there are now equal hours of day and night. Spring is here!

Sun-inspired design involves eclectic intellect for the home. Sun Plans’ architect, Debbie Coleman, was recently interviewed by Greenberry Taylor of Sense Magazine that features “eclectic intellect for the soul.” Debbie had the opportunity to share her sun-inspired design philosophy of how home owners can continuously recharge their spirits with carefully placed windows, overhangs and porches that create connections to the outdoors and places for themselves to be warmed and brightened by the sun.

This Spring Equinox E-newsletter includes:

  • Common Sense Design Strategies
  • News and Comments from Home Owners
  • The Sun-Inspired House E-book and Extras (see free offer)
  • Eco Soleil design aims for LEED-Homes Platinum  certification

Sun-Inspired Design makes sense!  When creating a new home design, Debbie suggests a small footprint to minimize foundation and roof costs, right-sized rooms that don’t waste space and right-placed porches that selectively block sun while creating outdoor living spaces.

Windows should be right-placed to capture views, allow in winter sun, minimize summer sun and balance interior lighting and natural breezes.

Custom Energy Specs written for your climate and your energy priorities (whether they be code minimum or net-zero) along with right-sized HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) should vary with the climate.

Allowances for present or future additions of active solar (hot water or photovoltaic panels) and the creation of exterior designs suitable for the climate and personal tastes (whether it be craftsman, southwestern, contemporary or traditional) should be addressed.

Sunny_Dreams_eastThe concept of passive survivability should be considered to prepare the home for natural or man-made disasters – making the interior as comfortable as possible without depending on the need for fuel, electricity or water from other sources. It’s a type of back-to-basics independence for high performance homes that addresses the comfort standards and expectations of today. It’s nature-inspired livability.

Below we share comments from those living in or building a sun-inspired home. 

Ryan's_Retreat_sw 2Bruce in New York, in Ryan’s Retreat shared with us:

“The passive solar design was definitely the right decision and we see those advantages more and more with each season we go through.  We love how light the house is and how warm it stays (especially when the sun has been out during the cold days).  I often tell people that my favorite thing about the living room is that it feels like you are on an outdoor porch, but you are inside.”

Adirondack_Atrium_Fredell 2Matt Fredell, builder with Innovative Structures in the Denver area, sent a photo link to his Facebook page with photos that include a huge banner proclaiming:

“Let the sun heat your home!”

Matt is building a spec home variation of the Adirondack Atrium.

 Equinox_Homestead_OR 2Todd from Oregon told us about his Equinox Homestead:

“We have a Tulikivi masonry heater, which we love.  The light in the house is fantastic, and when you get a nice sunny day in January the house heats up really nicely- don’t need to build a fire on sunny days.

French_Cowgirl_up to towerConni from Montana sent us their newsletter full of photos illustrating their passion for the outdoors.  Their French Cowgirl home in Montana has a ships ladder that leads up to a viewing tower from where they can watch their prairie. She mentioned:

“We are still very much in love with the house and often incredulous with how well it “works.”

Southern_Cypress_TXGloria and Bill in Texas told us about their Southern Cypress.

“The house is unbelievable.  So comfortable.  We had the hottest summer with temperatures in the low 100’s for most of August.  Our electric bill was $90.00.  This winter has been pretty chilly for this part of the country and we mostly heat with a wood burning stove.  Our electric bill is less than $50.00.  We absolutely love the house and are still amazed at how well it holds temperature.”  

Mountain_View_2_MTBill sent us a photo of the south view of his Mountain View 2 vacation home where the plan name is very suited to the site in Montana with grand mountain views surrounding.  Even when they are away for extended periods and the power goes out, the interiors stay well above freezing.

Nature's_Corner_TNHere is one of many construction photos received from Sandy and Marilyn as they build their Nature’s Corner home in Tennessee. This corner photo of their living rooms illustrates how we placed windows to capture their magnificent views of nature! (They started out requesting changes to one of our designs, but after extensive consulting, they realized that a custom-designed home would have less compromises.

We’ve also spoken with their builder, home energy rater, and HVAC subcontractor throughout construction. The next Sun Plans e-newsletter plans to feature News and Comments from Home Energy Raters and HVAC professionals that assist in creating a sun-inspired home. So stay tuned….

HomePower 2Jim Riggins, home owner AND home energy rater in Colorado had an article published: Heading for Net-Zero published in Home Power after he adapted the plan from our Northern Sun CAD files.  Home owners often impress us with their dedication to research and pricing of various insulation options, but Jim has excelled at this. If you too are heading for net-zero energy, please read his article and consider subscribing to Home Power. In the Custom Energy Specs that Sun Plans we for him, we listed several options for his high R-value home when he told us of his goal to build with the concept of the Passive House. He priced the numerous options along with some of his own!

Then only weeks later, Green Building Advisor’s Energy Nerd, Martin Holladay, posted Superinsulated House Specs on his blog and in it he also talked about Jim’s house! (Did you know that Green Building Advisor is our favorite green building website?)

We can already hear the requests asking to post these (and more) photos to our web site.  We wish we had many more photos and much more time to post them, but this is our busiest season and designing takes top priority.  Also, our home owners are very busy especially right after they move in and most choose not to send photos until they are comfortable with the finishing touches – and that can take years! In designing new homes, we typically utilize 3D design to allow the home owner to better visualize the home inside and out.

1)       The Sun-Inspired House E-book will soon be available!  It will have the same combination of educational content and house plan ideas, but will be more environmentally friendly with no paper or shipping.

“Sun-Inspired E-book Extras” is also in the making. It will feature over 50 designs that are not in The Sun–Inspired House book.

Still like to hold a printed book in your hands while reading? Order the printed book today for the new low price of $25 (including shipping) and receive BOTH the E-book AND the E-book supplement for no additional charge when they are ready in a few weeks. ($40 value) Go directly to the shopping cart page for the book.

The Eco Soleil affordable home developed for a non-profit organization aims for LEED-Homes Platinum and a HERS rating of 35, indicating it should use only 35% of the energy of a code-built home. It has five bedrooms in less than 2000 square feet.  One bedroom and the main living areas are all on the first floor as with most sun-inspired designs.

Sun Plans was commissioned to create this affordable home on an infill lot in a historic neighborhood.  Even with the narrow width, we were able to design a passive solar home with plenty of both south glass and south roof area (for active solar) with a creatively placed garage in back.

See a few more upcoming Sun Plans.
Comment from Debbie:

Concerned that the perfect plan you are looking for is not yet on our website?  While I do not have the time to describe in detail plans that are not yet on our website, if you engage me in any of our Consulting Services for assistance with selecting, adapting or creating a house design, then after I review your appropriate questionnaire in detail, I will be sure to point out IF we already have a design that you may like. And of course I’ll send preliminary drawings of the design for no additional charge similar to what I do when you request any of my consulting services.

DColeman friendsWhile it can be inspiring to learn while reading from the many energy-related magazines and websites that make information so accessible, it’s important to still make time for playing with and learning from those young in age and young at heart!  We love seeing pictures of your bright and sunny home with your friends, family and pets that keep you young.

Let us know how we can assist you in creating a sun-inspired home in which to age comfortably and stay young at heart.

Japan’s misfortune has made us more appreciative of those who inspire us and bring joy to our life.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have incurred a loss and we give hope that any rebuilding accomplished will be so with nature-inspired design.

Enjoy the refreshing spring season and the natural breezes as passive cooling begins to replace passive heating in a sun-inspired home!

Sun Plans Inc.
Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect, AIA & the Sun Plans’ Team
Sun-Inspired Design: the gold lining of green building

(We apologize that we have not quite figured out the quirks of the text editor in the web-based newsletter to make all the text consistent!)

July 2018
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