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Thanks to our clients who have made these new plans possible by commissioning us to adapt these designs to fit their life-style, we can now share them with others!  The Custom Energy Specs with orders for Construction Prints or CAD Files come with recommendations for possible changes to adapt the home to other climates.

French_Cowgirl_3_overview-photo 2The French Cowgirl 3 has its extra bedrooms below in the sunny ground floor instead of up where they are less protected from extreme temperatures. The tower, however still provides a place for occasional second floor sleeping or sunset viewing.  With so many options for living on various levels, this home lives like a much larger home than its small footprint might initially portray.  Both the back, west sunset porch and the east front porch provide outdoor living areas that also expand the livability of the home. Exterior steps from both porches lead down to the lower, garden-like south patio that can be terraced with a variety of plants.

Sunshine_5_overview-photo
The Sunshine 5 is super sunny and comfortable with the extra high concrete mass in both the walls and floors which keep inside temperatures steady year-round.  A cozy corner sun room remains warm long into the winter evening with the west-facing glass. In summer, the west windows can stay open to prevent overheating and serve as a screened porch while the large north front porch receives maximum breezes with 3 sides open.  Craftsman touches in the front truss, window details and large stone-based columns adorn this simple, yet very low-energy home.

Moorhaus_Cottage_3_overview-photo
The compact Moorhaus Cottage 3 features clean-lined simplicity and the welcoming north-facing entry adds character with minimum costs. Its heavy timbers and craftsman-style knee braces are just one of many “quality over quantity” features of this passive solar home that can blend with the woods in rural areas as well as a smaller lot within a city neighborhood.

Visit our entire selection of pre-designed Sun Plans to Select a Sun Plan
or
Look at the custom changes process toAdapt a Sun Plan
or
View the custom design process to Create a Sun Plan

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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.

The following newly added house plans reflect common trends in both initial construction cost savings and long term energy cost savings as clients ask us to customize homes for them in which they can comfortably spend the rest of their lives. Building down instead of up, increasing exterior wall thickness, tucking the garage into the basement and including all of the main spaces that our client’s family will use daily on one level – or right-sizing the home for their needs. They also feature right-sized porches with a craftsman style exterior, but the sky is the limit when adapting one for you. These plans all happen to be north-facing.

Conservation Showhome

First Floor 1544 s.f.

Daylight Basement (Finished) 1236 s.f.

Basement (Unfinished) 284 s.f.

Porches 387 s.f.

Detached Carport 384 s.f.

Width 68′, Depth 39′

10% South Glass

 

Nature’s Corner

First Floor 1960 s.f.

Daylight Basement  Finished 1027 s.f.

Porches 498 s.f.

Basement Garage/Shop 905 s.f.

Width 64’, Depth 46’

8% South Glass

 

Aurora Lights

First Floor 2448 s.f.

Porches 480 s.f.

Finished Daylight Basement 1278 s.f.

Basement Garage / Workshop 960 s.f.

Width 80’, Depth 48’

10% South Glass

 

Apple Energy

 

First Floor 2496 s.f.

Porches 288 s.f.

Garage 960 s.f.

Attic/Bonus 816 s.f.

Width 80’, Depth 76’

9% South Glass

Mountain View 3

First Floor 2048 s.f.

Porches 206 s.f.

Garage 688 s.f.

Width 62’

10% South Glass
Prince Charming

First Floor 1954 s.f.

Unfinished Basement 1740 s.f.

Porches 880 s.f.

Garage 842 s.f.

Width 74’

10% South Glass
Roseburg Cottage 8

First Floor 1427 s.f.

Second Floor 1034 s.f.

Total 2461 s.f.

Daylight Basement 1427 s.f.

Garage 576 s.f.

Porches & Balcony 268 s.f.

Width 66’

9% South Glass

Sunny Dreams

First Floor 1588 s.f.

Second Floor 1028 s.f.

Total 2616 s.f.

Daylight Basement 1305 s.f.

Garage  816 s.f.

Porches, Decks & Balconies 567 s.f.

Width 64’

9% South Glass

 

Mountain View 3
Mountain_View_3_overview-photoFirst Floor 2048 s.f.

Porches 206 s.f.

Garage 688 s.f.

Width 62’

10% South Glass

 

Prince Charming

Prince_Charming_overview-photoFirst Floor 1954 s.f.

Unfinished Basement 1740 s.f.

Porches 880 s.f.

Garage 842 s.f.

Width 74’

10% South Glass

 

Roseburg Cottage 8

Roseburg_Cottage_8_overview-photoFirst Floor 1427 s.f.

Second Floor 1034 s.f.

Total 2461 s.f.

Daylight Basement 1427 s.f.

Garage 576 s.f.

Porches & Balcony 268 s.f.

Width 66’

9% South Glass

Sunny Dreams

Sunny_Dreams_overview-photoFirst Floor 1588 s.f.

Second Floor 1028 s.f.

Total 2616 s.f.

Daylight Basement 1305 s.f.

Garage  816 s.f.

Porches, Decks & Balconies 567 s.f.

Width 64’

9% South Glass

(New plans can also be seen on our Select-A-SunPlan list with the “NEW” designation)

French Cowgirl 2
First Floor 1320 s.f.
Tower 180 s.f.
Total 1500 s.f.
Daylight Basement 1320 s.f.
Porches 388 s.f.
Garage 720 s.f.
Width 60’
Depth 64’
12% South Glass

The small footprint French Cowgirl 2 was adapted for our Canadian clients in a cold climate. Michael and Corrine wanted to have thicker exterior walls and slightly larger rooms. The extra thermal mass in the ICF (insulated concrete form) walls keeps the home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Nine foot ceilings allow for more south glass. Custom built-ins including the seating/sleeping areas for the fun tower (with 360º views) are space saving strategies that make this small home feel large. Quantity of square footage is traded for quality of square footage.

Cozy Solstice

First Floor 1684 s.f.
Second Floor 741 s.f.
Total 2425 s.f.
Garage 853 s.f.
Porches 32 s.f.
Width 78’
Depth50’
9% South Glass

The Cozy Solstice is partially earth-bermed with part of the first floor nestled snuggly into land that gently rises to the north. The narrower width reduces the cost of construction and operation with lower energy bills. The exterior is a blend of stone which creates the illusion of truly blending with the earth, but with smooth finish accents on the parts not touching the ground. The metal roof completes the fire-resistant exterior, but as with all Sun Plans, the exterior materials can easily be changed. We reduced the Solstice 2 plan for Darren and Cathy (cold climate) by making the house much narrower and to save about $30,000 in construction costs.

Dream Horse
First Floor 3184 s.f.
Porches 736 s.f.
Garage 896 s.f.
Opt. Carport 672 s.f.
Opt. Basement 546 s.f.
Width 84’ + Carport
Depth 82’
9% South Glass

The Dream Horse was born when Janet and Bill, a horse-loving couple, decided to create their dream home in a moderate climate. Doors and windows have been carefully placed to take advantage of the winter sun, balanced daylight and other views. The east-facing front porch and breakfast nook capture sunrises while the private master patio and bath capture the sunsets. Creating a central courtyard allows for more south glass than would normally be possible in larger one-story plans that can have dark inner spaces if they are not sun-inspired. The north wing of the home can be closed off for privacy or energy-savings.

Islander 9

First Floor 1954 s.f.
Unfinished Basement 1740 s.f.
Porches 880 s.f.
Garage 842 s.f.
Width 74’
Depth 74’
10% South Glass

The Islander 9 boasts the ample east and west porches of many of the other Islanders, but this one has the wrap continue around to the north for those who desire extra outdoor living space or just like the look of the full wrap porch. With the front door tucked into the northeast corner, the house is inviting with drives from both the north and west. Extra windows to the east capture the rising sun.  We added the basement for our client John who lives in an area where building without a basement is almost unheard.  There can be concerns that resale value can be affected. He desired a large workshop below though too.  (Many areas are still unaware of the cost and energy benefits of building on a concrete slab foundation especially for homes that have  large garage or large attic to store items that do not need to take up valuable heated or cooled spaces.)

Northern Lights 4

First Floor 2447 s.f.
Porches543 s.f.
Garage 890 s.f.
Width 73’
Depth 73’
8% South Glass

Kerry and Cheryl wanted a home that blended with their rugged, cold climate mountains. Northern Lights 4 is an updated, rustic, high mass version of the original Northern Lights Sun Plan with its long-time proven energy performance. Timber columns, a front porch timber truss and wood lintels add western touches. Stacked stone blends the home to the land while the simple and practical stucco–type coating is a natural and inexpensive siding for the ICF walls behind. The wrap-around front porch on the cool northeast side works especially well for those who enjoy shady summer evenings outside, but reversing the home would be recommended for those who preferred sunset viewing.

Click here to view our list of Sun Plans, including the NEW ones above!

These specials will last for two months – until August 22, 2010.

Click here to view the Atrium Breeze 3Buy 1 Get 1 Free!

For the next two months, buy one of our sun-inspired Study Plans or Review Sets and get another of equal or lesser value for free!

Our Reasoning: Many times, people narrow their choices down to two plans. For a limited time, we have decided to make it easier to study both plans for one price!

How to take advantage of this deal: When you order one Study Plan or Review Set, respond to the automated email with the second plan you would like to receive free of charge!

Click here to view the Sun Dance 7Upgrade to PDFs….for free!

For the next two months, upgrade your new orders of Study Plans, Review Sets or Construction Prints to PDFs for free!

Our Reasoning: Receiving orders in PDF format allows for fast delivery as well as unlimited printing of your purchased plan!

How to take advantage of this deal: When you choose a plan in our Secure Online Store, click the link in the header that says ‘Upgrade to PDF’ and choose the appropriate drawing type – Study Plan, Review Set or Construction Prints – then add it to your basket along with the house plan of your choice. Note that the price of the PDF Upgrade will show as “0”.

Click here to see all Saving and Specials!

Although spring is green, there may be a lack of green in many pocketbooks with the economic downturn. Clients are returning to us for smaller home designs. Some have found that the house plan they had purchased from us was really too large for not only their wallet, but also their lifestyle. After careful consideration, they decided some spaces were not needed.

Sun Plans now has a clunker program where you can trade in your previously purchased Blueprints or CAD Files for a smaller house plan for an exchange fee. When asked which are our most energy-efficient house plans, we continue to give the same answer: “The smallest!”

One customer’s e-mail reminded us of the need to point out how daylight basements can be the MOST energy efficient spaces. We appreciate our customers’ attention to detail, especially when they find the occasional mistake in our book or drawings. (It’s hard to admit not being perfect!) In our book, page 65, the first page of Chapter 6 on Tips for Browsing Sun-Inspired House Plans should read:

“If land slopes to allow for south windows in a daylight basement, south basement rooms can be sunny. The north areas can be partially earth-bermed. This can be the LEAST costly and MOST energy efficient location for secondary living areas and bedrooms.”

Both the Fernwood (photos shown above) and the French Cowgirl (photo shown below) are good examples of utilizing a daylight basement. (Thanks Mike and Mary, Conni and Craig for sharing your photos!)

Click to see more about the Fernwood.

The Sun-Inspired House Book Cover

The Sun-Inspired House Book Cover

If you want to learn about the benefits of a passive solar home and how to approach the custom design and building process, you might want to pick up a copy of my book, The Sun-Inspired House.

The book covers the underlying principles of using sun and light to energize a home and the prerequisites involved in a sustainable or green design. With information on selecting and working with a builder, a primer on energy analysis and rating systems, and over 50 sun-inspired designs to peruse, this book is an excellent source of information for anyone considering building a passive solar home.

One of my favorite energy writers, Martin Holladay, wrote a very honest review of the book last summer comparing it to other popular books on passive solar. See more about him and the review in “Musings of an Energy Nerd.”

3D Design

Sun Plans are available in 3D!

This is the best time of year to start a custom design with Sun Plans Inc.! Spring is our busiest time of year and may mean a long lead time.

Most of our custom clients are choosing our 3D services to help them better visualize their future home. Some who are requesting changes to pre-designed plans are also choosing 3D.

See our 3D page, a link only available for our e-mail subscribers. Please note that some designs may not yet be available on our Web site since they may be designs in progress.

Well, we’ve run out of time if we want to get this out before the end of June 21, so we’ll have to add new designs in the next email. For now, you can take a peak at the above link to Upcoming Plans.

The 3D images posted here show our latest custom design. If you are interested in Custom Design, please let us know.
http://www.sunplans.com/html/custom_design.php3
6-21-09-ss-5-a6-21-09-ss-5-b

The Dakota Cottage is north-facing with 1762 s.f. living plus a sunroom studio. With a full basement, its a very economical two story home. Why build up when south-sloping land allows you to build down?!* It’s a much more economical way to gain square footage and the energy consumption will be much less too.

Building down rather than up is the most popular cost-saving strategy that we can recommend.

See more about the Dakota Cottage
http://www.sunplans.com/html/houseDisplay.php3?house=Dakota_Cottage&page=front_elevation

The French Cowgirl was designed for a family who spends more time outdoors than in. This west-facing home with 1176 s.f. on each floor plus a fun viewing tower is one of our most compact homes so far.

Before this custom home, our clients would have had to consider a similar plan of ours with about 200 s.f. more on each floor. That would have cost about $30,000 more to build. Instead they paid us around $8,000 to custom design a home. The goal of our Custom Design service is to make our fees save you money during construction as well as in the long run with lower energy bills.

See more about the French Cowgirl
http://www.sunplans.com/html/houseDisplay.php3?house=French_Cowgirl

Ryan’s Retreat accommodates aging in place and existing wheelchair needs in a home with a creative ramp through a delightful sunroom. With 1800 s.f. on the first floor, a 264 s.f. sunroom, and 563 s.f. upstairs nestled between the attic trusses, this is a lot of home in a simple, craftsman shape.

Although they gave up some passive solar gain by eliminating the second floor south dormer, they are saving enough money with roof simplification to help justify adding the PV panels to the large, unobstructed roof on the south. (But even without a lot of unobstrutive roof area to power an entire house, many clients are placing the PV panels near the ground or on poles where it can be easier to knock off the snow!)

See more about Ryan’s Retreat
http://www.sunplans.com/html/houseDisplay.php3?house=Ryans_Retreat&page=front_elevation

Solstice 3 (we only have enough time to post one new plan during our busy season, so we chose the Solstice 3!)

The Solstice 3 has 2056 s.f. on the main floor, 964 s.f. on the second, and a full basement. It has the frequently requested north entry and works well with driveway approaches from the northwest to northeast. We designed it for an active family of four. The walls and floors are designed to be constructed with insulated concrete forms which bundle strength, thermal mass, and insulation into one system. It was recently published in BUILDERnews magazine. The back, south side is shown here in the new 3D we are using for custom design.

Solstice 3

See more about the Solstice 3