Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
HOUSE PLANS
HOUSE PLAN SPECS
Floor 1
2,447 sf
Entry Faces
North
South Glass
8%
Complexity
average
Northern Lights 4
PLAN PRICING
$70
Study Plans
11x17 set of drawings to better study the design of the house. 6-9 pages depending upon the size of the home. Excludes construction information and custom energy specs. Choose PAPER or PDF.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Northern Lights 4
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$20)
Total Price:
$70
 

$230
Review Sets
11x17 mini set of Construction Prints marked "not for construction". 10-16 pages depending upon the size of the home. Includes Study Plan also. Excludes Custom Energy Specs. Cost deductible from orders of Construction Prints or CAD files. Choose PAPER or PDF.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Northern Lights 4
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$50)
Total Price:
$230
 

$1,370
Construction Prints
24x36 construction drawings. 10-16 pages depending upon the size of the home. Includes Custom Energy Specs. Choose 6 PAPER sets or PDF.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Northern Lights 4
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$200)
Total Price:
$1,370
 

$1,820
CAD Files
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Files for having changes made by a local architect, design professional or engineer. Includes CAD Files, PDF Files, Custom Energy Specs and a Copyright Release. Electronic delivery.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Northern Lights 4
Plan Format:
DWG & PDF Files
Total Price:
$1,820
 

$230
Mirror Reverse
Must be ordered with Construction Prints or CAD Files. Reverse the house along the north-south axis (i.e., if the front faced east, it will be reversed to face west). This is a service performed on the drawings. Drawings will be true right-reading, mirror reverse drawings.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Northern Lights 4
Plan Format:
PDF Files
Total Price:
$230
 

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Study Plans
See larger, clearer, and more drawings than what are shown on the individual house plan pages.
The price is deductible from future orders of Construction Prints or CAD Files of any Sun Plan even if a completely different house plan is later purchased. Study Plans can be ordered from the Pricing tab for each house plan.

Study Plans include:

  • A mini set of design-oriented drawings set up for 11"x17".
  • A choice between a Paper version sent by US Priority Mail or the PDF version sent via email.
  • Unlimited printing with PDF's for sharing with family members.
  • 6 to 9 pages of drawings depending upon the complexity of the home.
  • Schematic site plan, floor plans (with room sizes and furniture), daylight basements if applicable, exterior elevations, a schematic section of the house to help visualize the interior, kitchen elevations and garage plans.

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Review Sets
Review Sets provide information to help decide whether the design will meet the budget. They are mainly for those who crave technical details, have construction experience or have a builder on board. 
The price is deductible from future orders of Construction Prints or CAD Files of any Sun Plan even if a completely different house plan is later purchased.
Review Sets can be ordered from the Pricing tab for each house plan.. 
Review Sets include:
  • A mini set of construction drawings set up for 11"x17"
  • Choice of PAPER sent by US Priority Mail or PDF version sent via email. (Select PDF to print extra copies or share electronically with other building professionals.)
  • 10 to 16 pages of drawings depending upon the complexity of the home.(See each house plan description for the drawings that come with each design.)
  • Dimensions and construction notes.
  • A copy of the Study Plan.
  • An "Opinion of Probable Construction Cost" from Sun Plans if requested. Sun Plans evaluates the design and compares it to similar home designs for which other clients have provided construction costs.   A range of construction cost is provided. (This is based on national information. Sun Plans does not have statistics by state, region or country.)
Review Sets may vary slightly from later orders of Construction Prints and CAD Files since drawings are continuously being updated to meet newer construction and in-house standards,
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Construction Prints
Large Construction Prints with clear, concise information make it easy for builders to follow yet they are flexible enough to adapt locally based on the price and availability of materials and subcontractors, various construction methods and home owner preferences. Together, every builder and home owner will change some aspects of the design before or during construction. If mutually agreeable (and approved by the building inspector and local engineer), these "field changes" can often be made with red notes on the Construction Prints. (For complex changes, please see CAD Files or Adapt-A-SunPlan Services.)
Construction Prints include:
  • Six sets of Construction Prints on 24"x36" paper shipped via UPS ground or PDF computer files sent by email
  • 10 to 16 pages of drawings depending upon the size and complexity of the home. (See individual house plan descriptions for specific drawings for each design.)
    • Schematic site plan (cover sheet showing how to orient the house for passive solar gain)
    • Foundation Plan (either slab-on-grade, crawlspace, below grade or daylight basement)
    • First and second floor plans (many construction notes, window sizes, etc.)
    • Exterior elevations (all four sides shown in hatched detail)
    • Schematic Building section (cut-away through the home showing basic configuration)
    • Kitchen elevations (all sides of the kitchen)
    • Typical wall detail (showing the various building materials recommended)
    • Schematic electrical (showing lights, switches and outlets)
    • Schematic framing plans (showing floor framing, roof framing and beams)
  • Garage or Carport
  • Custom Energy Specs. (Read more.)
  • One hour of technical support with the architect by email or phone
Miscellaneous Details
  • Order Construction Prints through the Pricing tab on any house plan.
  • After an order is placed, reply to the email received to advise of the requested information Sun Plans will need to prepare the Custom Energy Specs.
  • Allow 5 business days for updating the design to the Sun Plans in-house checklist and preparation of the the Custom Energy Specs. (Shipping then takes another 3-7 days.)
  • With PDF's, unlimited copies of the Construction Prints can be printed locally so long as they are used for building one home. PDF's are handy for sending to builders, mortgage companies, appraisers, home energy raters, and others who may be assisting with the planning and construction of the home such as the builder's subcontractors. Some building inspection departments require PDF.
Rick is in the lighting business and reviews construction prints in his work.
They are wonderful!  If you saw most of the drawings and specifications I see, you would wonder how anything got built properly...It is just nice to see a true professional who does the job correctly and takes pride in her work.  In my 34 years of working with Architects you are hands down the best I have had the privilege to work with. - Rick
A client sent a set of Construction Prints (designed for stick construction) to a SIP company to have them converted to SIPs. This is what they told the home owners:
I also wanted to take this opportunity to confirm your selection of Sun Plans Inc.  We receive many sets of drawings each day that are interested in comparing SIPs.  The drawings submitted by Sun Plans Inc. were high quality and very easy for us to work from. - Steve, SIPS of the South
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CAD Files
CAD files are the most flexible type of construction drawings since they can be modified and sent electronically. While the house design is intended to save the home owner energy, the CAD files are designed to save the energy of design professionals by making adaptations proceed faster should it be desired to have someone other than Sun Plans make the changes. The PDF files that are a part of the order allow for printing unlimited Construction Prints even if no changes are made. CAD files are intended to be used by professionals experienced in residential design.
CAD Files Include:
  • CAD files of the Construction Drawings (see below for options)
  • PDF file of the Construction Prints (see Construction Prints)
  • PDF file of Custom Energy Specs
  • PDF file of Copyright Release to allow the house to be modified and changed to build one house
  • One hour of technical support by email or phone. This can include review by the Sun Plans' architect on proposed changes prior to preparing Custom Energy Specs. If the customer sends a list of proposed changes immediately after placing the order, the architect can review them for energy implications and try to address them in the Custom Energy Specs.
CAD File Details
  •  Order CAD files through the Pricing tab on any house plan.
  • After an order is placed, reply to the email received to advise of the requested information Sun Plans will need to prepare the Custom Energy Specs.
  • Allow 5 business days for to allow for updating the design to the Sun Plans in-house checklist and preparation of the the Custom Energy Specs.
  • With the CAD files, many changes can be made to the design.
  • With PDF's (part of the CAD file order), unlimited copies of the Construction Prints can be printed locally so long as they are used for building one home. PDF's are handy for sending to builders, mortgage companies, appraisers, home energy raters, and others who may be assisting with the planning and construction of the home such as the builder's subcontractors. Some building inspection departments require PDF.
  • If consulting on changes is desired before the order is placed, then Adapt-A-SunPlan Consulting and Review Service is the process to take.
Examples of how the CAD files are used include: 
  • The design professional may expand the house a couple of feet, change the exterior materials, move a bathroom, or rearrange interior walls and doors.
  • The structural engineer may want to add engineering information such as rebar sizes and specific connections suitable for the local codes, soils, winds, snow or seismic activity.
  • The builder may find it easier to perform take offs and layouts with this electronic version of construction prints.
  • Home Energy Raters or HVAC subs creating duct work layouts can increase the speed and accuracy of their services.
Info for the Design Professional
  • The CAD Files are designed to be used by an experienced residential design professional
  • The standard method of preparing the CAD files is in AutoCAD 2000 DWG file type, with the files split into separate files. Approximately 95% of CAD file orders are prepared in this format. (Sun Plans can export to any version of AutoCAD between version 12 and 2013, but 2000 seems to be the most common one that most design professionals can use including those with older versions of the software.)
  • Can't use any of these CAD File types, but still want the local design professional to copy and redraw the design with changes?  The Copyright Release that comes only with CAD Files allow for this. (Please see Copyright.)
  • Special requests for all-in-one CAD files, DXF or AEC (DataCAD) files can be honored if advised within one business day of the order.
  • Split CAD Files are divided into separate files - cover sheet, foundation, first floor, second floor, elevations, section, kitchen, wall detail, and detached garage as applicable.  More than one of the printed sheet may be in each file. For instance, the fp1elect and fp1framing will also be in the fp1 file, but these are recommended to be printed separately as shown in the PDF files that come with the CAD Files.
  • More questions? Have the design professional contact us.

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Mirror Reverse
Similar to the Mirror Reverse feature for each house plan, mirror reversing Construction Prints and CAD Files flips the house plan on the north-south axis. However, the Mirror Reverse custom service also reverses the text and numbers so that they are no longer backwards. The drawings will be "right reading". It takes some time to check for overlapping text and numbers, but it is a worthwhile service considering the errors that can be made by the builders and their subs if they otherwise tried to reverse the home during construction.
In rectangular plans designed with one long wall designed to face south, the south and north sides will still face the same compass direction, but the east and west walls are reversed. In angled plans designed to sit at a 45 degree angle to south, the mirror line is from the northern-most corner to the southern-most corner which is a diagonal line across the house. What was the northwest wall would then become the northeast wall, and what was the southwest wall would then become the southeast wall.
Instances of when reversing might help include when the home owners want the entry on the east rather than the west. Or maybe a bedroom on the west is desired instead of the east-facing bedroom if light is not wanted from the sunrise. There are hundreds of reasons for mirror reversing a house along the north-south axis. Sometimes the architect suggests it during the Review and Consulting phase of any custom services based on the home owners' site or other particulars.
A local design professional can also do the reversing with the CAD Files.
Mirror Reverse is a not available for the lower-priced Study Plans and Review Sets.
The 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.
First Floor
From the front porch, a large airlock entry also serves as an art gallery with abundant wall space that is often missing in rooms that are open with lots of windows. A single glass door opens into the large earthy great room with wood ceilings and a large stone hearth. Next, the expanse of south windows is almost breathtaking. The kitchen is open to the sunny breakfast corner and the large great room. Its deep window box has enough room for several plants, but even the deep window sills in the south rooms can hold many flowers and herbs.
Two of the bedrooms will be sunny year-round while the northwest one may be the best choice for those who prefer less direct sun in winter. It may make a better office if computers or valuable books or art work are to be displayed.
Garage
The large garage has one small and two large overhead doors facing the side. The "L" shaped area forms a courtyard-like space for the front walkway. The separate mechanical room is nestled close to the house. The home is entered via the family entry large enough for boots and coats. The stairs up to the attic are designed to be nicely finished. Only after passing through the door at the top of the stairs, is the unfinished attic evident. The nearby laundry is ideally placed close to all bedrooms.
Construction Info
The great room, dining and breakfast have vaulted ceilings with beams dropped below the roof trusses. A wood ceiling here carries through with the rustic exterior of the home. In the dining area, dropped cross beams add elegance to the ceiling intended to have lighter white ceiling in between. The rest of the home has 9' high flat ceilings. Insulated concrete walls (ICF) and concrete floors throughout make this a very high mass home which keeps the temperatures very stable year-round. While the floors on the south side should be covered in stone, brick, tile or stained and polished concrete, the floors in the north rooms can be wood.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Turn the dining area into a study or bedroom 4
  • Make the ceilings all flat to allow for a walk-in attic and/or large entertainment area the entire width of the house
  • Close off the laundry from the family entry
  • Make 12" the walls double studs filled with blown insulation for a super energy-efficient wall system.
  • Increase the south glass by making the windows taller
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Slab On Grade Foundation
  • Floor Plan including Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plan
  • Schematic Roof Framing