Create your own Sun Plan
Select an existing Sun Plan
Adapt an existing Sun Plan
About the Sun Plans we offer
Shop for a Sun Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
About Us
Contact Us
About Sun Plans
 
Sun Plans is a small, hands-on architectural firm that provides services and passive solar house plans suitable for the United States and Canada.  The architect is involved in every Create-A-SunPlan, Adapt-A-SunPlans and the Custom Energy Specs of Select-A-SunPlan. We are passionate about the opportunities of the sun for brightening and warming a home.
 
The architect behind the passion, Debra Rucker Coleman, has her design philosophies discussed and illustrated in her 256 page book, The Sun-Inspired House: house designs warmed and brightened by the sun.
 
For the most current articles, also see the Sun Plans' News.
 
The Company
 
Most are surprised to learn that Sun Plans is a very small company. More importantly, we prefer to keep it this way. We believe that this provides the close-up, hands on approach that benefits our customers and clients. We do not pretend to compete with large house plan companies, nor large architectural firms.
 
Share our passion for passive solar design and want to be a part of our team? Some of our work can be performed through internet-based services. Contact us with a brief outline of your experience with passive solar residential design and if it looks like  a good fit, we can then follow up.
 
We are also looking for a customer service specialist. Contact us with a brief outline of your experience with customer service and if it looks like a good fit, we can then follow up.
 
We are committed to providing the best possible passive solar home design and house plans for affordable prices. We enjoy offering each client or customer customized service tailored to what suits them best. We hope you find that good things can come in small packages.
 
To provide quality of service and products, we continuously research aspects of home design related to energy-efficiency, solar energy, green building, codes and building safety and general residential design trends.  We stay up-to-date on the changes in the industry so that you don't have to/  We continuously update our Construction Prints and CAD Files.
 
To provide affordable custom design, we look for ways to make our services more efficient. To save the client time, we continuously look for ways to improve our internet-based custom design. In fact, one of the best things about working with Sun Plans in Create-A-SunPlan or Adapt-A-SunPlan is that our clients can review the various drawings and other submittals at their leisure at their own home or office. While we do limit phone time to normal office hours, clients can e-mail comments at their convenience.
 
The Team
 
Sun Plans contracts with a wide variety of consultants and professionals on a house-by-house basis to tailor services to a client's particular needs:
 
Customer Service
This is currently shared by everyone in the office.  We can answer initial concerns about planning a sun-inspired home and help steer the homeowner as to which service and/or product is the appropriate starting point for building a sun-inspired, passive solar home.

2D Designers
Tracy, a hard working CAD designer with an architectural engineering degree.  She assists with adapting a Sun Plan to meet the specific needs of the homeowner and their climate.  She has been working with Sun Plans since 2003 and her dedication to Sun Plans and the clients is unparalleled. 
 
3D Designer
3D services are performed either in house or by consultants depending upon the customer's request for type of 3D desired from simple concept sketches to extra detailed 3D that approaches photo realism

HVAC Consultant
Andy, a practical, energy specialist who can evaluate various heating and cooling systems that are appropriate to the particular house and climate as well as the client's personal values for saving energy

Web Designer
Christopher, a detailed computer and solar software designer who not only developed our web site, but some of the tools that Sun Plans uses to evaluate the home designs

Other Professional as Needed for the Project Team
Based on the client and project's needs, it is possible to include other design professionals as part of the team. While the builder or structural engineer would be the most common,  third-party home energy raters (HERS) that work along with the builder to assure that Sun Plans energy recommendations are followed could also be included. Other professionals might include certified LEED or Passivhaus professionals.

Architect
Debra, please see below
 
The Architect
 
For over 25 years, architect Debra Rucker Coleman, AIA, president of Sun Plans Inc., has been designing passive solar homes. In 1990, she published the house-plan book Sun-Inspired Home Plans. In October 2005, she wrote the 256-page book The Sun-Inspired House which was then updated in 2007.
 
Debra's education and experience have evolved through the energy crisis of the 70's, environmental architecture of the 80's, the sustainable movement of the 90's, the green building craze of the early 21st century and more recently the practicality of the post-recession era where costs govern in both construction costs and operating costs. She focuses on what she feels are the most important aspects of green building - low energy use.
 
Debra is passionate about sun-inspired design, treats Sun Plans as a daughter and the homes she designs as grandchildren. The home owner is, of course, the primary parent, but she never loses interest in what she helps create.
 
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 received the fundamentals in her sustainable and energy education. Passive solar heating and 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. One of her professors, Larry Medlin, continues to teach solar energy at UA and led a team to the Solar Decathlon in 2009.
 
In 2009 DesignIntelligence magazine ranked the UA's undergraduate program in architecture as the nation's 12th best out of 120 accredited architectural schools.  "Many design schools are jumping on sustainability as a hot topic and we have an advantage because we have been at the forefront of sustainable design for four decades," said Cervelli, Dean, UA College of Architecture & Landscape Architecture.
 
Debra currently lives in Alabama, but has lived in other climates as varied as Arizona, Switzerland, the Caribbean and North Carolina. She has also researched energy requirements for most climates in North America. She has presented papers and given seminars in the United States and Canada, but with her present family life prefers to stay close to her own sun-inspired home. (The heating and cooling bills average less than $100 per month for the entire home with only about $25/month for the average heating/cooling portion.)
 
Recognition
 
House plans on the Sun Plans website have been on the National Tour of Solar Homes held every October by the American Solar Energy Association, and Coleman's work has been published in Fine Homebuilding (Nov 1993), Solar Today (July/Aug 1996), Mother Earth News (Aug/Sept 2002 and Oct/Nov 2012), Home Power (Dec 2006, Aug/Sept 2002), Home Energy (Mar/Apr 2003), and numerous other small publications since.
 
In 2002, Sun Plans Inc. received the "Best Practice" Sustainability Award for Residential Buildings from the Sustainable Building Industries Council. The award recognizes businesses that have contributed significantly to the promotion of sustainable buildings. In the 1980's while practicing in North Carolina, she received the Governor's Awards for Energy Efficient Buildings for both residential and commercial projects. She consults with residential developers and other architects who wanted to increase the energy-efficiency and passive solar potential of their projects.
 
Memberships and Partnerships
 
ENERGY STAR Partner
Because the house plans of Sun Plans are designed to earn the ENERGY STAR, Sun Plans is helping to meet consumers' growing demand for high quality, energy-efficient homes.
 
PATH Partner
PATH (Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing) is dedicated to accelerating the development and use of technologies that radically improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance and affordability of America's housing.
 
USGBC Professional Member
Debra has actively participated in the review of the developing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes program, as well as the development of the Gulf Coast Branch of AL Chapter of USGBC (United States Green Building Council) where she is one of the founding  Board of Directors. She is an accredited LEED Green Associate.
 
AIA
Debra Rucker Coleman is an AIA (American Institute of Architects) member who believes that the services of an architect should be adapted to be affordable to all those who value the quality of life that custom architectural design can bring to their home.
 
Location
 
Although Debra has practiced in many climate zones, the Sun Plans' office is currently located in southern Alabama near the Gulf Coast, USA. Please call for the office address, to schedule a visit or to surface mail information.
 
Phone: 251-341-0509 
 
For questions and concerns related to services and house plans on this web site, please use the Contact Us form. 
 
Thank you!
 
"Our passive solar house designs are inspired by the movement of the sun. Our sun is the most important element that we can see. It is literally the center of our world and without it there would be no life on earth. Our passive solar home plans capture the non-polluting heat and wonderful light of the sun."

- Debra Rucker Coleman, Sun Plans Inc.