Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
ABOUT




















About Us
Sun Plans Inc. is a small, architectural firm that has been providing web-based sun-inspired home design since 2002 for the United States and Canada.  The architect, Debra Rucker Coleman, is passionate about the opportunities of the sun for brightening and warming a home. She has designed hundreds of sun-inspired, passive solar designs since the 1980's and they have been built all over North America. Her design philosophies are discussed and illustrated in The Sun-Inspired House: house designs warmed and brightened by the sun which was first published in 2005.
The Company
Since Sun Plans is a very small company, Coleman works directly with clients throughout the internet-based design process. Even with orders of the pre-designed plans, she personally prepares the Custom Energy Specs.  This hands-on approach benefits the clients by making her very accessible.
Sun Plans is committed to providing the best possible passive solar home designs for affordable prices. The home owners are often assigned homework tasks which most thoroughly enjoy.  With the web-based design services, clients can review the various drawings and submittals at their leisure and in their own home or office. They can e-mail at their convenience.  Although phone calls are always possible, customers find that they are seldom needed. The same applies to site visits and face-to-face meetings which are an option, but seldom required with the sophistication of web mapping and communication systems.
The Architect
For over 25 years, architect Debra Rucker Coleman, AIA, president of Sun Plans Inc., has been designing sun-inspired homes. In 1990, she published the house plan booklet Sun-Inspired Home Plans. In October 2005, she wrote and published The Sun-Inspired House which was then updated in 2007.
Coleman has been a licensed architect since 1984, and is currently registered in Alabama and North Carolina. (Most states do not require a licensed architect in their state to design homes, but potential clients should check state and local requirements.)
She received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona where she gained the fundamentals in her sustainable and energy education. Passive solar heating and passive cooling elements were part of the design process and not something that could be tacked onto a building or set of plans at the end.
Coleman is a LEED Green Associate and has long believed that sun-inpsired design is the gold lining of green building. Taking advantage of the free heat of the sun to warm buildings in winter is low hanging fruit to obtain greater energy-savings in buildings. More points are allocated to saving energy than any other LEED category. 
In 2005, she completed the intensive 10 week Zero Net Energy Home Design course by Marc Rosenbaum, P.E. with Energysmiths where she logged over 200 hours exploring the details of what it takes to design a zero net energy home. Interacting with Marc and other classmates throughout the U.S. and Canada was a fun and educational experience.
Coleman's homes designs have been on the National Tour of Solar Homes. Her work has been published in Fine Homebuilding, Solar Today, Mother Earth News, Home Power, Home Energy, and numerous smaller publications. She has presented papers and given seminars on passive solar design in the United States and Canada.
Coleman was the general contractor for one sun-inspired home and assisting with the renovations of another. These gave her experience in the construction details of high-performance, low-energy homes. In both homes, the energy bills typically average less than $100 per month for the entire home's energy use with about $25-35/month average for the heating/cooling portion. 
Sun Plans' architectural design process is a simplified, residential version of the process shown in this What Architects Do video.
Location
Although Debra has practiced in many climate zones such as Arizona, Switzerland, the Caribbean and North Carolina, Sun Plans is currently located in southern Alabama, USA. Please call for the office address, to schedule a visit or to surface mail information.  For Gulf Coast projects, see www.sunplansgulfcoast.com
The Sun-Inspired House E-book (continuously updated as new designs are added to the web site) describes her design philosophies including those regarding passive solar. It also showcases over 150 sun-inspired home designs.