Reviews from Home Owners & Builders
Reading comments from home owners living in sun-inspired, passive solar homes, or from builders who have constructed them, can be beneficial. It's normal to have apprehension towards something that seems new, and the construction industry is notoriously slow to change, especially when compared to the changes in the computer industry over the last 20 years.
"The amount of sun light in the rooms. The lower heating bills are great but the feeling from the light and not having to use lights is hard to describe."
- Pam and Paul (moderate climate) Solstice
Home Owner Reviews
"So far it has been great, with our primary heat (close loop geothermal system) not running at all during sunny days here in Ohio. We have only been in for a month and a half, but we are pleased how the house is reducing our energy usage...."
- Mike and Leslie (moderate climate) Prairie Dog 3
"I'm very satisfied. The Sun Plans book was a great tool for additional information as needed and [I] would recommend anyone ordering plans get a copy of this as well."
- Karen (cold climate) Webster House Reversed
"We used Sun Plans and Debbie to create the plans for our new home. We just finished building and have moved in as of Feb. While we still have some outside items to do, we absolutely love this house and are so very glad we found Sun Plans. They were great to work with and always available to answer questions. They take pride in their work and are passionate about what they do."
- Suzanne Prince (moderate climate) Prince Charming
"I love everything about the house, but my favorite space is the main living area that contains the kitchen, atrium dining room and living room. Bill and I spend most of our time here when we are on our own, and it is also a wonderful place for family gatherings --the open concept let me have a dining room table that can expand to feed 14 people. In fact, with no walls, the space is very flexible."
- Sandy Nelson (cold climate)Atrium 2
"We are thrilled with the design and plans, and we love the house. It is very bright, and the passive solar design works beautifully. In summer 2008 we received the city of Lakewood's Sustainability Award."
- Dale and Leslie (cold climate) Equinox 3
"We built a Sun Plans home in 2002 and love it. We wanted a home that felt like a vacation...and it does. Every day"
- K.C. Lupp (moderate climate) Sun Dance Cottage
"Three year ago, my husband and I purchased 90 acres in rural east Texas and built a passive solar house. We purchased the design from Debra Coleman and have been more than pleased. The house holds an almost constant temperature, and our electric bills have averaged about $60 (per month). We cool the house as needed with an air conditioner and use an efficient wood stove for most of our (supplemental) heat. This house is amazing and we absolutely love it. This design works very well."
- Gloria (hot climate), letter published in Mother Earth News Feb/Mar 2013 after the interview with Debra Coleman was published in the magazine Oct/Nov 2012. Southern Cypress
More comments from home owners can be found scattered throughout the Sun Plans website and at the bottom of each individual house plan. You may also like to:
- Read selected comments from Create-A-SunPlans clients
- View unsolicited comments from Adapt-A-SunPlan clients
Vern Little previously with Anchorage Builders tells us:
"The Solstice was built for Bill and Nicole in Efland, NC. It turned out great and they are experiencing a comfortable, self regulating house with very low electric bills, in the $40-60 per month range depending on season. Bill's professional woodworking shop is running off the same meter, too. They have great cross breezes and the passive solar works like a dream."
Comments from others builders are scattered through out the web site. Something we often hear: "We cannot find a builder that is experienced in passive solar design." Not everyone is lucky enough to have Mark Bighley or Anchorage Builders in their town.
Lack of experience building a passive solar home is not a good a reason to turn away a builder, nor should a builder turn away from accepting a job for the same reason - at least not one from Sun Plans, whose designs are based on conventional construction methods. However, lack of understanding, education, or experience with construction of tight, well-insulated homes in general would be a reason to keep looking for another builder.
Builders and their subcontractors, especially the subcontractors who will be designing and installing the heating system, also need to realize that low-energy, high-performance homes need much smaller heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Builders should hire trained HVAC subcontractors, energy-consultants, or home energy raters that can assist with proper equipment sizing to avoid over-sizing for both heating and cooling. Sun Plans has an HVAC energy consultant that is available to consult with home owners, builders and their HVAC subcontractors, should there not be one near the building site. See Consulting Services for more information about this HVAC-related service.