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Sunny Dreams: Nenad and Biljana

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Sunny Dreams is living proof that obstacles of Subdivision Covenants, can be overcome in green building.  While sun-inspired design styles are adaptable enough for most architectural guidelines, the minimum size requirements that subdivisions often require can be a challenge, but one that was worth it!
 
"Yes, we are enjoying the house EVERY SINGLE DAY!  It feels like a vacation home, and that was exactly our intention."

Homeowners may want a smaller home that is less expensive to build and to operate.  They may also value quality of space over quantity of square footage.  In creating a custom home for Nenad and Biljana, early in the process they presented Sun Plans with their values and space requirements.  Sun Plans then to created a right-sized home that would be as small as the subdivision allowed yet include all the spaces and features that they wanted.

In a letter written to their local paper, the home owners stated “After hundreds of e-mails and phone calls over about eight months, architect Debra Coleman from Sun Plans, Inc. provided plans that elated the couple, custom-designed for their lifestyle. Then, they went looking for a builder that has a reputation for meeting green standards. They chose Cook Builders in Crown Point.”

The home achieved a Gold Rating by the National Association of Home Builders. It also achieved an Energy Star HERS index rating of 53 which means that the home should use about 53% of the energy that a new home built to code would use. With their conservative life-style and attention to energy use, they are hoping that the actual use comes in lower. 

Approximately 25% of their heating needs will be provided by the sun and their cooling savings due to right-placed windows and porches will also be reduced. 

To stay within budget, the design underwent one stage of plan revisions  that required some changes both in the design and a few energy features.  Working closely with Cook Builders on details of pricing various levels of insulation and Energy Diagnostics as the Energy Star home energy rater and NAHB Green Verifier, both in Indiana, the homeowners were able to identify which energy features were the most cost-effective to bring the house within their budget. 

In their case, the basement has concrete walls with rigid insulation board while the upper floor walls are insulated stud cavities with a thin layer of sprayed foam to seal the walls, then cellulose blown on top.  Exterior rigid insulation wraps the exterior walls.  The rafter system has the same combination of sprayed foam and cellulose.  This attention to more insulation that is better installed along with high quality windows increased construction costs by approximately 5-10%.
 
"It feels so good to live here and that is priceless."
 
In describing winter comfort, the home owner says:
 
"At -20F outside, during the sunny days, inside the house was above 73F with the heat turned off." 
 
When asked what they like best about their sun-inspired home, they state:
 
"So much light inside!!! Enough that we did not feel sun-deprived after a loooong....winter."