Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
HOUSE PLANS
HOUSE PLAN SPECS
Floor 1
1,488 sf
Daylight Basement
1,463 sf
Entry Faces
South
South Glass
9%
Complexity
simple
Half Moon 4
The south-facing Half Moon 4 is a smaller version of the Moon Dance design with a narrower living area. With the garage on the side and front porch in front, it is a rare example of a passive solar home with a front porch on the south. Wide front steps up to the south porch make the front a charming entry and pleasant place to soak up the winter sun. A nature viewing deck and bay window are other unique spaces on the south side of this home. The large daylight basement also brings the outdoors inside with its expanse of windows. The brick veneer exterior with cement board siding and Craftsman accents makes the home both durable and distinctive.
"We are about 90% off-grid with our solar power system (only the kitchen stove and my workshop are on the grid) - our electric power bill runs an avg of $20 per month, most of that is for cooking, the rest comes from the sun!"
First Floor
From the front door there is a variety of unique features that add character all surround the main living area. In one corner, there is the fireplace flanked by shelves in one corner. A built-in glass front cabinet is on the opposite wall. On the south there is a cozy sitting area. The great room is large enough to house a formal dining table on either end or the extra space can be a library.
Nearby is the breakfast nook that captures views to the north and adds balanced light to the great room. The kitchen is open but around the corner out of direct view of the front door. It is conveniently located near the laundry and back screened porch for outdoor dining and living -- or cleaning vegetables brought in from the garden.
Daylight Basement
The simple, space-saving stairs lead to the sunny basement with a glass door to a patio, three bedrooms and a large entertainment room that has another hearth. With the spacious bath, many can inhabit this lower level which could also function well for home schooling. With the addition of a kitchenette and laundry, the floor would make a spacious teenage or in-laws suite.
Garage
The 2 car garage is attached on the west side which buffers the house from the hot summer sun and frees up the north side for views and porches.
Construction Info
The Half Moon is designed to be constructed with a trussed roof, 6" walls and an insulated concrete foundation. Both floors have economical (to build and to heat) 8' ceilings, but the great room and dining ceilings are vaulted. Often when there are so many windows that lead the eye outside, occupants seldom notice that the ceilings are 8' high. To add some thermal mass to the home, a few interior brick (or stone) walls have been added and the basement floor should be polished concrete or tile-covered to keep the home from overheating in winter and the interior temperatures more stable year-round.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Move the garage to the north side where the screened porch is located (or detach it and place about anywhere) which allows for a west-facing home with a front porch
  • Make the garage larger to house a workshop by expanding it to the north
  • Expand the master bath to the south to allow for a soaking tub
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • First Floor Plan with Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Comments and Photos

With Steve's electrical engineering background and Ann's crafty green thumb, their modified Half Moon 4 ("Sola Vista" they call it) seen in the photos is quite a combination of high-tech features and creativity. The combination of the latest in LED light fixtures (see the ones in the kitchen photo that look like can lights, but aren't) with the dozens of small plants make for a lively, bright home.

Steve shared the results from their Home Energy Rater's (HERS rater) testing data: "HERS 47, with a 1.23 ACH50 blower door air infiltration test result.  Not too shabby!"  That means their home uses approximately 47% of the energy of a new home built to code. And the software that calculates this rating notoriously underestimates passive solar performance so most Sun Plans clients have much greater energy savings. The blower door test that measures the air tightness of the home shows that their home has an air infiltration rate of only about 25% of the code maximum.  And when you live in a humid climate, that is 75% less air in which the humidity has to be removed. Removal of the humidity from the air is a large part of the air conditioner's energy consumption.

Ann's numerous bonsai trees seem to be very happy near the dozens of south-facing windows.  One of the strategies of window placement in Sun Plans' designs is to bring the outdoors in, but Steve and Ann's home gets a boost of being connected to nature with the plants inside.