Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
HOUSE PLANS
HOUSE PLAN SPECS
Floor 1
1,170 sf
Floor 2
1,101 sf
Total
2,271 sf
Entry Faces
North
South Glass
9%
Complexity
average
Northern Sun 3
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. After the order is placed, send a list of your ideas for customization and Sun Plans can tell you if the ideas are practical ones.
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 Sun 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$20)
Total Price:
$70
 

$210
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. After the order is placed, ask for an opinion of construction cost from the architect.
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 Sun 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$50)
Total Price:
$210
 

$1,310
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 Sun 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$200)
Total Price:
$1,310
 

$1,730
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 Sun 3
Plan Format:
DWG & PDF Files
Total Price:
$1,730
 

$210
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 Sun 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files
Total Price:
$210
 

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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 Sun 3 is a simpler version of the Northern Sun design with the compact plan and abundance of south windows. Our clients wanted the garage detached and the stairs accessible from the two story sunroom dining. The comfortable front porch faces north and will be cool in summer.
First Floor
The dining area is still open to both the kitchen and great room and we've opened up the stairs a bit to create more spatial interest. The great room with windows on three sides will have balanced light. The hearth is also visible from the dining and since the great room is so large, a couple of comfy chairs can be placed right in front. The west screened porch has been enlarged to allow space for more furniture and still has two doors for air circulation. The first floor bedroom for the aging years can also be an away room or office and the central bath can be used by many. Very little space is wasted in this house. This is most evident with the front door which is both the guest and family entry from the detached garage. There is a small convenient area for a laundry right off the kitchen if you get tired of using the upstairs one.
Second Floor
The master bedroom upstairs still has a spacious bathroom, but to save on space and bathroom fixtures, it now shares its large shower/tub with the half bath used by the other two bedrooms. The walk in closet is spacious enough for both laundry and ironing area and it's east window will allow the morning sun to come in. The two other upstairs bedrooms have large closets with small west windows for some afternoon light.
Garage
The optional detached or two-car garage is designed to be located to the north east, but could be placed elsewhere too.
Construction Info
The entire second floor has exterior walls that slope up from 8' to 10'. The first floor has 9' ceilings. The thermal mass needed to prevent large interior winter temperature swings is located in the concrete slab floor that can be covered with such things as tile, stone, brick pavers, etc.The combination foundation combines the best of a concrete slab for thermal mass and crawlspace for the raised front porch look and plumbing access.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Glass in the side screened porch to be used as an away room if you have trees to shade the west windows
  • Add another bedroom or study upstairs by flooring in the areas above the dining
  • Add a east door to the kitchen and attach the garage while adding a large mudroom too.
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Combination slab and crawlspace foundation 
  • Floor Plans
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail 
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans 
  • Garage Plans
Some notes from an owner who made changes to the plan (such as brick veneer, revised front, etc.).
"The passive solar is great, love those cold winter days that are sunny, the furnace never cycles. As a matter of fact the bedrooms on the second floor actually get mighty warm. I have snow all over my roof this time of year whereas my neighbors do not, thanks to the R50 insulation in the ceilings. I could go on and on. I was just a bit skeptical about this passive solar stuff, all I know is that it works for me."
The architect asks: "Is the upstairs too hot in summer?"
"Not really. The upstairs actually gets hot in March/April and then October/November. We only had to run ac for a few weeks towards the end of summer when it was really humid. We have ceiling fans in every room and in the bridge hallway to help move the air this winter. The back of the house (with the help of the surveyor) faces south with the exact pivot to get maximum sun exposure. I can work with hot, it's called open a window. The other thing is to keep a curtain closed to block the sunlight. With all-the-all-the, that has to be done with moving into a new home, we are working on installing "warm windows" thermal curtains to help hold the heat in and block the cold. But even without any kind of thermal drape on many of the windows, our gas bills are much lower (hundreds) than our friends living in similar to smaller size homes. Kind of cool that we can heat the home by just baking or cooking. This spring/early summer the plan is to build a deck on the back of the home with some sort of slat type roof/overhang near the lower level to compensate for not cantilevering the second floor. I could go on and on, just kinda cool living in such an energy efficient home. All the best, Mark"
And here are some more comments from Mark later on:
"Enjoying the benefits of a superinsulated, passive solar and energy efficient home here in NE Ohio...I know I am saving energy due to the design of the home, it is just hard to know and exactly how much. The only thing I can compare it to is when talking with friends about their gas and electric bills, my gas bill is usually at least a hundred or so dollars less (per month). I find it humorous that I can actually heat and/or warm the home by cooking or baking. Some of the days in the past few weeks have been so warm that my daughter does not even open her bedroom insulated drapes to let the sun shine in, plenty is coming in other windows to warm the house. On those sunny days after the high efficiency furnace gets the home up to temp, it does not cycle again until early the next morning. ...The design of the house was great over the summer too, how the superinsulation kept the cool in and the thermal mass pulled heat from the air....Too cool (pun intended). So even though I came to a superinsulated Passive Solar design home kicking and dragging my feet, I am loving it and enjoying the benefits now."
And still some more later on:
"As in years past, we are enjoying the warmth of the sun (when we get it, been cloudy a lot lately) and when it gets in, we don't let it out with the super insulated walls. Maggie has been working feverishly to get the warm windows drapes made to assist in keeping that warmth in and the heat of sun out over the summer. Sure works. Thanks, Mark V."
Many of the photos were taken by David Young, a professional photographer. Thanks David for sharing the photos of your house with us!..and for sharing the following comments:
"...We have now been in our Northern Sun home for more than two years. (After traveling)...when we go in the house, we are always overwhelmed with joy by its spacious, welcoming light and warmth. It has always been good to return home, but this is the only house that we have had that gives us such pleasure of "welcome home." We are so pleased that we found you as an architect and a local builder who built with pride for a lifetime. And when we have visitors it is fun to watch them look around to take in the space and then listen as we explain passive solar. So again, thanks for your creative work. It has brought much enjoyment to our lives." Shalom, Dave and Sweet