Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Custom Energy Specs
The preparation of Custom Energy Specs is a custom service provided along with the purchase of Construction Prints or CAD Files.  The bottom part of this page explains details of the Custom Energy Specs. 
House Plan Order Custom Energy Specs
For pre-designed house plans orders from the Sun Plans' list, the architect makes recommendations in the Custom Energy Specs for possible changes to be made during construction based on the climate in which the home will be constructed.This is a rare service offered in the house plan industry.  
Adapt-A-SunPlan Custom Energy Specs
For Adapt-A-SunPlan projects, the design is adapted for the particular climate and the home owner's energy priorities. The Custom Energy Specs then elaborate on those details.  
Create-A-SunPlan Custom Energy Specs
For Create-A-SunPlan projects, the house is designed from the start for the particular climate and the home owner's energy priorities including level of energy savings desired. The Custom Energy Specs then elaborate on those details.
Customer Energy Priorities
In each case, the home owners can state their energy priorities or rely on Sun Plans to recommend from code minimum (seldom chosen), Energy Star (30-50% savings), beyond Energy Star (50-80% savings), or if striving for net zero energy is desired (100% savings).
As a minimum, Sun Plans recommends building to Energy Star standards (at least 30% better than code).  The Custom Energy Specs typically recommend higher insulation values that result in at least 50% savings. The plans are designed to earn the Energy Star label if the Energy Star guidelines are followed by the builder and a third-party independent Home Energy Rater that can test and verify such things as the insulation installation and tightness of the home.
Sun Plans homes routinely perform at least 50% below new homes standards, but actual performance is often better (all the way to Zero Net Energy or Passiv Haus / Passive House) especially when the owner chooses a high level of efficiency.
For pre-designed plans, after the order is placed, please advise Sun Plans of the desired energy savings.
Climate and Location Analysis
Also, after the order is placed, please advise Sun Plans of the location (city, county, state or province) where the home will be constructed.  (Custom Specs are only prepared for locations in the U.S. and Canada at this time.)  If the proposed orientation of the south wall has to face other than true (not magnetic) south, tell us that too since sometimes that causes the overhang length to change. Small lots can be limiting in orientation. If exact orientation is not known, and if the land allows for some flexibility, let Sun Plans recommend an orientation as the Custom Energy Specs are prepared. Often a slight easterly orientation may be recommended for improved summer shading.
After a climate analysis, the orientation, magnetic north, insulation values, south glass, thermal mass, and overhang lengths are reviewed along with the construction details for the particular house design. Both the passive solar heating and cooling elements will be considered prior to preparing the Custom Energy Specs. If there are concerns as to whether or not the plan can be "field modified" for the climate, the architect will advise; however, this has never happened.
Typically, several options are typically written in the Custom Energy Specs for roofs, walls, floors, windows, etc. to allow for flexibility and choice based on local availability of types of insulation and materials.
With Adapt-A-SunPlan, any recommended modifications are made in the house plans prior to finalizing the design and making the Construction Prints.
With Create-A-SunPlan, the Sun Plans architect designs the house from the start based on the particulars of the climate and location.
Prior to ordering a pre-designed plan, if a home owner has concerns of the house the house fit on land, best wall, roof or foundation insulation or other energy-related concerns, consider engaging Sun Plans in Adapt-A-SunPlan or Select-A-SunPlan Consulting Services prior to placing the order.

"I am contacting you to compliment you on the Specifications you have provided for the Nature's Corner Project currently underway here in Asheville. I review a lot of plans and specs, and I appreciate your thoroughness, which is at a level I don't see often. We are the area's local experts in Building Performance and have provided Building Envelope services for hundreds of satisfied clients throughout the Western North Carolina region...I've been very impressed with your carefully detailed specs. I thought you might like to hear this from another professional in the industry."
Ryan Gore, Building Performance Specialist, Home Energy Partners