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What To Look For When Purchasing Solar House Plans

If you’re considering building a passive solar house, the first thing you will need to find are solar house plans. There are many sites on the internet offering solar house plans for purchase, but you’ll need to able to discern whether or not the house plans are high quality, and offer feasible solutions for building a clean, zero energy home.

The majority of solar home plans include several different types of solar collection units, and many of the plans available also include other forms of renewable energy as well, such as wind turbines. Any good solar home plan should at least make use of photovoltaic solar panels, solar thermal energy, and passive solar collection.

How to Find Good Solar House Plans

The first step when looking for solar home blueprints is to know what size and type of house you wish to build. Many companies offer pre-made plans, or you can work with an architect to customize your home any way you wish. Once you know about the style and size of the house, then you can start searching for blueprints. The best place to do this is online, as there are literally hundreds of companies offering their plans for sale. 

Almost every one of these companies claims to have the best plans available, but of course they all can’t be telling the truth. So the question is: how do you discern which plans are worthwhile and which sets of plans should be thrown on the scrap heap?  

 
The first thing you should look for is to see if you can find real reviews of the particular plans you’re considering purchasing. If you can find satisfied customers, then there’s a good chance the plans will be sufficient at saving energy. 
 

Another important thing to look at is how much energy the home is able to generate itself. There are some plans that are supposedly truly green, zero energy homes, while others have an energy efficiency percentage in the 50 to 60 percent range, which is still quite impressive depending on the size of the home. 

It’s also necessary to look at what sorts of solar energy are utilized by the home, as a good set of blueprints with undoubtedly take advantage of the sun’s energy in as many different ways as possible. It’s necessary to make sure your home will utilize passive solar energy, solar thermal energy for heating your home and water, and also have an array of photovoltaic solar panels installed on the roof. 

Best Places to Find Solar House Plans

If you simply search online, you’ll come up with thousands of pages offering solar home blueprints for sale, and it could take weeks to sort through all of them to find the few whose plans are well-rated and reviewed. Luckily we’ve done the hard work for you, so listed below are our reviews to some of the best websites for finding solar home plans.

sunplansSun Plans is one of the leaders in solar house plans, and they offer a large selection of pre-designed solar home plans. They also give you the option to work alongside an architect and completely design your own solar home from the ground up. However, this requires at least six months of working time before you wish to start building. If this doesn’t work for you, then you can also work with Sun Plans to customize and adapt one of their existing plans to fit your needs and taste. 

Their website is also very easy to use, and you can search through their entire selection of plans. It’s also possible to sort the plans by a number of different factors, including square footage, width, and length, which direction the entry faces, and even the complexity of the plans. Sun Plans allows you to purchase several different blueprint options, from a study print to help you choose the correct house, to a full set of construction prints, or even the CAD files so you can have a local architect modify the plans to fit your needs. 

The basic study print costs $80, while a full six sets of construction plans runs around $1200 and the CAD files are about $1550. Overall, you can’t go wrong with Sun Plans, and you should be able to find a set of plans to fit any need and budget on their website.

Sun Plans’ home designs are designed to as a minimum meet Energy Star standards. Most clients choose to go way beyond Energy Star to meet the Passivhaus or Net Zero standards. (A local Home Energy Rater is required to rate the plan based on the local climate then test the home prior to issuing certification.)

One of the most interesting books on solar plans is now available online. This book comes from a contest sponsored by the United States’ Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and contains 91 plans for passive solar homes. This contest took place in 1982, but that doesn’t mean that these plans are not still worthwhile. 

The only drawback is that these are not full sets of plans, but rather more a few technical drawings and concepts. This site is perfect for those who are looking for different ideas for designing a DIY solar house. 

The House Designers offer the only plans in the world to have received Energy Star Certification. This means that these plans are quite high-quality and produce very efficient, self-sustaining homes. The House Designers offers over 800 plans in a wide range of styles and sizes. 

The plans are searchable by type of dwelling, such as bungalow, cottage, log cabin, Tuscan, southwest, Mediterranean, and many more. You can also search by architectural floor plan type and many other criteria, including size, number of bedrooms, and more. These plans are also quite cheap, with an eight set of full prints costing $665, a reproducible set of plans costs $800, and the CAD files cost $1400. 

You can be guaranteed you will find a set of plans that is completely to your liking on this site, and you can also be comfortable knowing that The House Designers plans are the only ones to ever receive the Energy Star Certification. With these plans, you’ll be able to build a very efficient solar home with confidence.


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