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About Sun Plans
Sun Plans is a small, hands-on architectural firm that provides passive solar home design and 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. Comments from clients regarding the delight, comfort and low-energy performance of their sun-inspired homes can be found in various locations on the web site.
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.
We are committed to providing the best possible passive solar home design and house plans for affordable prices. We enjoy offering each client customized service tailored for their lifestyle, land, climate and priorities. 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 of our stock plans.  Of course, when creating a new design, everything about it is customized and current whether the client is looking to build to Energy Star with at least 30% energy savings, extreme high performance like the Passiv Haus standards or somewhere in-between. Zero Net Energy is often a goal of our clients if not initially, at least some time in the future.
To provide affordable custom design, we look for ways to make our services more efficient and ways to improve our internet-based custom design. Often this process involved self-help tasks for the home owners. 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
Although there are only two full time staff, Sun Plans sometimes contracts with a wide variety of consultants and professionals on an as-needed basis.  The architectural services are all performed by the Sun Plans architect and the majority of drafting is done in-house as well.
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 planning a sun-inspired, passive solar home.

2D Designer
Tracy, a hard working CAD designer with an architectural engineering degree.  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 in passive solar design.

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.

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.
"Most recently, I completed the intensive 10 week Zero Net Energy Home Design course by Marc Rosenbaum where I 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. I love applying this current knowledge to my home designs." - Debbie
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. (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 due to her husbands career, 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.  She has served as the general contractor for one sun-inspired home and assisted with the renovations of another.  (In both, the energy bills typically average less than $100 per month for the entire home with only about $25/month for the heating/cooling portion.)
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 (Aug/Sept 2014, 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.
Memberships and Partnerships
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.
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.
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.
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.
To call us or for questions and concerns related to architectural design services and house plans on this web site, please see the Contact Us page. 
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, Architect, Sun Plans Inc.