Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
HOUSE PLANS
HOUSE PLAN SPECS
Floor 1
1,591 sf
Floor 2
801 sf
Total
2,392 sf
Entry Faces
West
South Glass
7%
Complexity
average
Southern Cypress
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:
Southern Cypress
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$20)
Total Price:
$70
 

$220
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:
Southern Cypress
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$50)
Total Price:
$220
 

$1,330
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:
Southern Cypress
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$200)
Total Price:
$1,330
 

$1,770
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:
Southern Cypress
Plan Format:
DWG & PDF Files
Total Price:
$1,770
 

$220
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:
Southern Cypress
Plan Format:
PDF Files
Total Price:
$220
 

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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.
Our Southern Cypress was designed for a challenging site with a west approach and beautiful views to the east. The owner requested an abundance of windows facing the morning sun. The exterior is board and batten siding with a galvanized metal roof for a rustic farmhouse look with a contemporary twist. (As with many of our pre-designed plans, the design has undergone changes over the years based on the owner's comments and experiences. The footprint is the same, but the greater solar gain makes it adaptable to more than just southern climates.)
First Floor
The main living area on the east has views on three sides. The side of the house faces south and we designed the sunroom to capture and buffer the sun. The front of the house with its large west facing porch shades the house from the hot afternoon sun, yet is warm on winter afternoons. The side sunroom is also the primary family entrance as the carport is recommended to be placed just to the southwest of the house. In winter, the plants are brought in and the floor drain makes watering them easy. Behind the half wall, the laundry area is tucked away and ironing is a pleasure while looking south. The hot water heater is also in this wet area of the house and a solar hot water heater can be added on the roof directly above. A downstairs bedroom with private bath and large closet is ideal for guests. The front door enters into an Away Room or office, but with a small closet, it could also qualify as a bedroom.
Second Floor
Upstairs are two bedrooms separated by a bath. The larger, master bedroom has as study loft on one side that overlooks the great room and the large, private, master bath is on the east to capture the sunrises. The vaulted ceilings give these spaces lots of character and keep the ductwork in insulated spaces.
Carport
The optional carport is designed to sit to the SW of the house and function also as a covered clothes drying area with clothesline around the perimeter, but it (or a detached garage) could sit elsewhere on your site.
Construction Info
This house is designed to be stick-framed, but our custom energy recommendations that come with blueprint and CAD file orders suggest other energy efficient alternatives for your climate. Most of the downstairs has 9' flat ceilings while upstairs, the sunroom, and part of the living area have vaulted ceilings. Thermal mass is in the concrete floors covered in tile, stone, brick pavers, or decorative concrete. Our book, The Sun-Inspired House has an abundance of information about this house in the form of an energy case study.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • For a large country kitchen, expand it into the sunroom
  • Enlarge the downstairs bedroom and bath for a master suite by expanding out to the north corner
  • Make it handicap accessible.
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Slab Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plans
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
  • Carport Plans
Comments and Photos
This home was built by the Sun Plans architect in the late 1990's, but the design is timeless as are many of the energy-related features.  Custom Energy Specs can adapt the home to other climates.

Even in the heat of the south, passive solar and cooling design methods can increase energy-efficiency and provide sunny interiors. This 1 1/2 story 2100 s.f. home has average energy bills approximately 1/2 the energy consumption of other similarly-sized homes in the area. With a little less south glass than most passive solar homes, the home is technically sun-tempered.

House Siting - Orient the home with the long walls facing north and south. The front faces west so the south is the side of the home. There is an abundance of windows on the east to capitalize on the nice views in that direction. The land is heavily wooded and just enough trees were removed for the house. For full sun in November, more trees would need to be removed, but the owner is happy with less solar gain during that month and the extra shade during the summer.

South Windows - Place as many of the windows as possible on the south wall. Most of the windows are in the side sunroom, which also serves as the family entry. That is where boots, coats, and plants are kept in winter. The laundry area is partially hidden by a half wall that divides the room. South windows are also incorporated into the dining area and upstairs bedrooms. Because low-e windows with a high SHGC coefficient was hard to find locally, clear glass was used for the south windows to let in as much sun as possible.

Overhangs - Shade the south-facing windows with overhangs. At 31 degrees latitude in a hot climate (2600 cooling degree days), the appropriate length for south overhangs is 2'. This shades the windows just right for the 5' windows at a 7'8" head height on the 9' first floor wall.

Porches - add porches to shade east and west windows. Porches were added as much as possible where there were no east and west trees to shade the east and west windows. They also create wonderful outdoor living spaces on the front and back of the home.

Thermal Mass - add brick or concrete if south glass exceeds 7% of total floor area. With the amount of south glass, no extra mass was needed, but the concrete slab in the sunroom does help keep the temperatures comfortable year-round.

Separate Sunrooms - Include them only if the residents will use them. The sunroom was designed to be a living space. The temperature has never been above 78 degrees in summer nor below 65 degrees in winter, even when the family is gone and the heat pump is turned off. The doors and windows between it and the main house are left open year-round. The sunroom has glass primarily on the south.

Roofs - In hot climates, keep the roof color light to reflect the heat. A metal Galvalume roof was installed like many of the older farmhouses. It was installed over 1x4 treated sleepers 24" on center, perpendicular to the rafters to create an air space. The underneath side of the shiny metal roof performs like a radiant barrier.

Foundation - Slab on grade construction is a simple way to incorporate thermal mass. Since the home sits on a sloping lot, just the front 2/3 is on a concrete slab, but this is enough to help with the summer cooling of the home. No slab insulation was used because the house is in a very hot climate and the earth can be used as a heat sink.

Framing and Caulking - Seal all possible air leaks. In hot, humid climates, the vapor retarder is placed on the outside of the exterior walls. Caulk is placed between the exterior insulation board and the sill plate and between the exterior insulation and the top header plate. The exterior insulation board seams are then sealed with foil tape. The exterior headers were insulated with scrap pieces of insulation board between the (2) 2x12s. Energy-efficient corner construction was requested to allow for more insulation, but the framing contractor had a hard time grasping this idea. The owners stood ready with caulking gun in hand when the windows were being installed to assure that the flanges were caulked behind. The owners also performed additional caulking and sealing wherever daylight was seen from the inside.

Windows and Doors - Select high quality and install them correctly. Wood and vinyl casement and awning windows were used in the main house and double hung windows were used in the sunroom. Exterior doors are insulated metal units with clear glass.

Insulation - Install it carefully. Cellulose insulation was blown in the walls and the exterior is then wrapped with foil-faced rigid insulation. The ceiling has dense-packed cellulose between the rafters. The small crawl space area has 1" of sprayed glue-heavy cellulose and 4" rigid foam panels which were carried back from a trip to the dump.

Roof Ventilation - Get the heat out quick. An air space is provided below the metal roof. The typical foam roof closures at the top (beneath the ridge) and bottom of the PBR metal ribs were eliminated to allow for better ventilation. It has been discovered, unfortunately, that flying squirrels like those spaces, too. Vented closures should have been used in their place.

Exhaust Fans - Get the moisture out of the house fast. The baths are vented either through the wall or ceiling cavity to the outside. The gas range is vented through an upstairs closet and then out through a wall. The visible portion of the range hood duct was made to match the wood stove flue. The Sears variable speed unit is quiet.

Heating and Cooling System - Put it inside the house and do not oversize it. After much discussion, the mechanical contractor agreed to put in a smaller three-ton heat pump with variable speed blower. It has never failed to meet the cooling load even during the hottest, most humid days. The unit is inside conditioned space in a walk-in attic although there are no air vents to this space. The medium-size wood stove easily heats the entire house when used instead of the heat pump. The awning window nearby is opened slightly for intake air. (Awning windows crank open and are hinged at the top.) The thermostat is kept on 70 degrees F in winter and 76 degrees in summer. There is no fresh air intake in the duct system, but a blower door test indicated that the house still met the recommended minimum of .33 air changes per hour. (In newer, tighter homes, additional fresh air is typically needed.) The air conditioning is seldom turned on before June - about a month later than most homes in the area. The heat is seldom turned on before November - about a month later than average in the area. For two months in the spring, and two in the fall, the windows are left open quite often. The power was out in the middle of summer for a week after a hurricane, yet the house stayed tolerably cool (not more than 80 degrees F) even though the humidity was high. Opening the windows at night brought in cooler air, which stayed in the house when the windows were closed in the morning.

Lighting, Ceiling fans, and Appliances - Install the most energy-efficient models. Ceiling fans are used year-round in the bedrooms. In the summer, they are turned on in occupied living areas. There is no recessed lighting and all of the lights are fluorescents. Daylight bulbs were used in the indirect light boxes built above the windows. The refrigerator is basic, yet energy-efficient. The washer was recently replaced with an Energy Star front loader that takes more moisture out of the clothes. Clothes are line-dried about half of the time. A simple solar hot water panel with integral storage is installed just above the water heater on a south-facing roof. Propane is used only for cooking and amounts to one 5-gallon bottle per month.

Energy Consumption - A modest life-style can reduce overall energy consumption. The 2100-square-foot homes energy bills have averaged less than $100/month for three occupants since 1999. About 10% is propane for cooking. Looking at just the electrical consumption, which includes the heat pump and hot water, the average monthly consumption is about 700 KWH. The highest usage in winter (about 900 KWH) is in December and includes Christmas lights and company. The highest usage in summer is about the same in August with the air conditioning running full time and company for two weeks. In mild seasons, where little heat or air conditioning is used, the average monthly electrical use for lights, some water heating, and all household appliances averages around 450 KWH/month. This leaves an average of 250 KWH/month for heating and cooling. It is common for neighbors with similar size homes to see energy bills 3-4 times these amounts during peak heating and cooling seasons.

Costs of Energy Features - The energy features increased the construction costs by about 4%. This includes the cellulose insulation, better windows, and an upgrade in heating/air conditioning equipment. To borrow the extra money increases the mortgage payment, but when this cost is subtracted from the energy savings, the net savings are still over $100 per month compared to neighbors. However, what the owners enjoy equally is the thermal stability that the home maintains year-round. Comfortable temperatures and an abundance of sunlight make the house a delightful place to live.