French doors can close off the sunroom for acoustical privacy and for days when the sunroom may have a greater temperature swing than the rest of the home. The center hearth in the living room can house a wood stove or fireplace which can be two-sided and shared by the sunroom.
Morning sun will stream into the master bedroom in winter. In summer it will receive some rays through the northeast window which also helps with passive ventilation. The laundry is conveniently located near the master bedroom and it has a door to the outside for quickly hanging out clothes.
A variety of outdoor spaces extend the first floor living spaces. The spacious northwest front porch has room for rockers and swings to watch the evening summer sun. The screened porch is open on three sides for maximizing breezes that cool outdoor dining. The southern deck is a great place to catch some winter rays on non-windy winter days. The narrow walkway connecting the deck and back porch maximizes sun in the lower level.
The sunny stairs lead to the lower floor with 3 bedrooms, a study, exercise space, TV area and mechanical rooms. This spacious level almost doubles the home’s living area. Since so many of the walls are earth-bermed, the rooms will require less additional heating and cooling energy to stay warm in winter and cool in summer than if they were on the second floor or a two-story home. With the numerous windows and walkout patio, it will be hard to tell that the rooms are below grade.
The detached garage can house two cars with a workshop or greenhouse space, or it can be modified for three vehicles. It can easily be attached to the house via the laundry or through the screened porch based on home owner preference.
First floor ceilings are vaulted which adds space and character. Basement ceilings are 9’ tall. Stud walls and rafters are easily adapted to insulation requirements of various climates by varying the amount of exterior insulation. Thermal mass is in both the tile floors throughout the home and in the brick or stone wall in the sunroom. Solar panels can be placed facing southeast and/or southwest on the roofs, or on ground-mounted poles.
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
Read more about the drawings available for various Sun Plans.