Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect

About Us
Sun Plans Inc. is a small, architectural firm that has been providing web-based sun-inspired home design since 2002 for the United States and Canada.  They have designed hundreds of sun-inspired, passive solar designs since the 1990's that have been built all over North America. The design philosophies are discussed and illustrated in The Sun-Inspired House: house designs warmed and brightened by the sun which was first published in 2005. The updated eBook with over 100 house designs is available from Sun Plans.
The Company
Since Sun Plans is a very small company, the architect works directly with clients throughout the internet-based design process. Even with orders of the pre-designed plans, she personally prepares the Custom Energy Specs. 
Sun Plans is committed to providing the best possible passive solar home designs for affordable prices. The homeowners are often assigned homework tasks that most thoroughly enjoy.  With the web-based design services, clients can review the various drawings and submittals at their leisure and in their own home or office. They can e-mail at their convenience.  Although phone calls are always possible, customers find that they are seldom needed. The same applies to site visits and face-to-face meetings which are an option if proximity allows, but seldom required with the sophistication of web mapping and communication systems.
Sun Plans is looking for experienced and emerging design professionals who share the passion for right-sized, low-energy homes that incorporate the sun. Opportunities exist to showcase existing house designs on the Sun Plans website and provide custom design services. Contact Us with qualifications.
The Architect
The architect, Debra Rucker Coleman, is passionate about the opportunities of the sun for brightening and warming a home. Coleman has been a licensed architect since 1984, and is currently registered in Alabama and North Carolina. (Most states do not require a licensed architect in their state to design homes, but potential clients should check state and local requirements.)
She received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona where she gained the fundamentals in her sustainable and energy education. Passive solar heating and passive cooling elements were part of the design process and not something that could be tacked onto a building or set of plans at the end.
Coleman is a LEED Green Associate and has long believed that sun-inpsired design is the gold lining of green building. Taking advantage of the free heat of the sun to warm buildings in winter is low hanging fruit to obtain greater energy-savings in buildings. More points are allocated to saving energy than any other LEED category. 
In 2015, she completed the intensive 10 week Zero Net Energy Home Design course by Marc Rosenbaum, P.E. with Energysmiths where she logged over 200 hours exploring the details of what it takes to design a zero net energy home. Interacting with Marc and other classmates throughout the U.S. and Canada was a fun and educational experience.
Coleman's homes designs have been on the National Tour of Solar Homes. Her work has been published in Fine Homebuilding, Solar Today, Mother Earth News, Home Power, Home Energy, and numerous smaller publications. She has presented papers and given seminars on passive solar design in the United States and Canada.
Coleman was the general contractor for her own homes including a new construction one and  major renovation of another. This gave her experience in the construction details of high-performance, low-energy homes. In both homes, the energy bills typically average less than $100 per month for the entire home's energy use with about $25-35/month average for the heating/cooling portion. 
Although Debra has lived in many climate zones such as Arizona, Switzerland, the Caribbean, and North Carolina, Sun Plans is currently located in southern Alabama, USA. Please call for the office address, to schedule a visit, or to surface mail information. 
ASES (American Solar Energy Society)
Debra serves on ASES's Board of Directors, Solar Buildings Technical Division,  National Solar Tour steering committee, and the organizing committee for the annual solar conference.
Better Buildings Residential Network 
Sun Plans is proud to be a member of the U.S. DOE's Better Building Residential Network of companies that promote home energy efficiency and upgrades by exchanging information and learning from each other. 
AIA (American Institute of Architects)
Debra is a member of the American Institute of Architects - the professional organization in which licensed architects are permitted to join.
GreenHome Institute
Being on the GreenHome Institute's board of directors allows Debra numerous opportunities to stay on top of the leading green, low-energy, and high-performance building trends including LEED, GreenStar, the various home energy rating systems, passive house organizations, and other emerging programs in the residential community.
EEBA (Energy & Environmental Building Alliance), Green Building Advisor, BPA, etc.
Sun Plans supports EEBA's Vision Statement: To create a community that comes together to learn, share, and collaborate on a future where all homes are healthy, resilient, zero-energy, and zero carbon. There are other organizations related to zero net energy and high-performance home design where Sun Plans participates in ongoing continuing education to stay at the forefront of residential energy knowledge such as Green Building Advisor, Fine Homebuilding, Journal of Light Construction, Building Performance Association, and DOEs Zero Energy Ready Homes.