The back deck of a passive solar home

Investing in a passive solar home is one of the best options for going green and limiting your energy consumption. 

Luckily, if you’re not quite sure where to go for inspiration, there’s no shortage online of resources to help you choose the best option for your home moving forward.

One of the best examples of passive solar homes is the Atrium 2 by Sun Plans. This house features a compact design that allows maximum light and heat through its backside. 

Read on to discover more about this fantastic passive solar home and several others. 

Atrium 2 – Sun Plans

Sun Plans is one of the best resources to find passive solar home examples, but rest assured, there’s no shortage of sites where you can get your passive solar house plans. One of the significant benefits of utilizing this website is that it names each solar home design, making it significantly easier to navigate back to it. 

The Atrium 2 is one of our personal favorites because it features a compact design that lets in a tremendous amount of light and natural heat. Traditional compact homes are often built to allow in as little light as possible. As a result, you end up sitting in the dark, leaving you feeling stuffy and cramped. 

Exterior front view of the Atrium 2 by Sun Plans
Courtesy of Sun Plans

Passive solar homes are all about using natural resources as much as possible, as you’re probably already aware. This home takes this concept to the max. Two sides of the house are designed to face south, where most light will come through. 

This house features one floor totaling 1,223 square feet (113.62 square meters). Additionally, the home features a daylight basement of 1,296 square feet (120.40 square meters). 

Ideally, the home would face northwest, so the light filters in from the south, but you can adjust this based on individual preference.

Daylight Dreams – Sun Plans

If you haven’t figured it out from the name already, this home is built to take in as much light as possible. As a result, this is the perfect home for the practical family who loves living in brightness more than caliginous environments. 

Exterior front view rendering of Daylight Dreams by Sun Plans
Courtesy of Sun Plans

This home features a first floor and daylight basement, similar to the Atrium 2. Both are packed full of natural light and provide plenty of additional space for a growing family.

Moreover, this home is built with a huge porch, perfect for entertaining on warm evenings. The central porch faces north, while the back deck faces southeast. The southeast deck will absorb more heat and provide a better entertaining area for the colder months. 

The primary floor of this house is 1,293 square feet (120.12 square meters), and the daylight basement below is another 1,232 square feet (114.46 square meters). 

Ideally, the house would face north, but again, it can be adjusted to fit the individual’s preferences. 

Plan #108-1538 – The Plan Collection

This solar home comes from a different avenue—The Plan Collection. You’ll see quite a few of this company’s offerings in this article. The downside is that these homes aren’t named, so clicking the link above is best to discover each house. 

This solar home is an A-frame log cabin. It’s got a total of two bedrooms, but the master bedroom is split from the central part of the house. 

Exterior rear view of Plan #108-1538 by the Plan Collective
Courtesy of The Plan Collection

It is perfect for a couple or individual who wants to maximize energy efficiency while still having privacy benefits. Traditional smaller homes often don’t allow freedom of movement and separation. 

This home is designed as a vacation getaway, but it would also make an excellent option for a small family or couple to live full-time. The home features a massive loft up top for guests as well.

The house has large front windows for heavy light exposure and a tall A-frame ceiling to help trap heat. As a result, this home is best suited for colder environments. Offering a total of 1,216 square feet (112.97 square meters) and two floors, it may be exactly what you’re looking for for a winter getaway. 

If you’re interested in a home that excels during winter but aren’t sure how to heat it, the good news is that there are plenty of options available. Check out this article on other heating solutions for more information.

Plan #158-1289 – The Plan Collection

This passive solar home is built for the modern mind. It features a flat roof and almost an entire glass wall, so it stands at the top of the list for enjoying the most light. 

Exterior rending of Plan #158-1289 by The Plan Collective
Courtesy of The Plan Collection

The house features high ceilings, giving you that freeing feeling. Achieving this much space in a solar home can be challenging because of the required energy, but this plan fits the bill. The floor plan is entirely open, providing plenty of space for entertaining. 

This home is a three-bedroom with one full bathroom and one half-bathroom. It has 1,697 square feet (157.66 square meters) and two floors. The outside deck is built with an entire glass railing and acts as the perfect space to sit and read on a cool fall morning. 

This house would be best suited for a view. Whether you’re building in the mountains or by the water, you can’t beat the view this house will provide. 

Blueberry Cottage – Sun Plans

If you’re looking for a passive solar home that is quaint and quiet, you can’t beat the Blueberry Cottage featured on Sun Plans. This home is a simple build reminiscent of more historic houses in the Northeast US. 

Interior view of the Blueberry Cottage passive home's kitchen
Courtesy of Sun Plans

It features two full baths, three bedrooms, and a vast open living room. 

There’s a considerable amount of flexibility in this example. While you cannot rearrange the bedrooms, the garage placement is customizable. In addition, the Blueberry Cottage is suitable for nearly any lot size and type. 

Ideally, this home would face west, allowing the master bedroom, bathroom, and breakfast area to receive the sun from the south. With this setup, the main living areas would remain full of the sun all day. 

This passive solar house is only one floor and features 1,280 square feet (118.92 square meters). 

Cedar Ranch – Sun Plans

This house was inspired by a different design by Sun Plans, the Acorn Design. Cedar Ranch, however, boasts simplistic features. 

Interior living room view of the Cedar Ranch by Sun Plans
Courtesy of Sun Plans

One of the best features of this house is the full front porch, which is the perfect place for sitting in high mountains. It faces southeast, so it collects a ton of light and warmth. 

The front of the house has a lot of flexibility to it. One of the best things is to place a driveway that approaches from either the north or the east.

Sun or wind energy would best suit this home. When it’s sunny outside, you can expect to utilize very few traditional energy sources, if any. This sustainability could go on for up to a week. 

The Cedar Ranch features one floor and a daylight basement. The primary floor is 1,530 square feet (142.14 square meters), and the daylight basement is the same footage. Ideally, the entry would face north so that the back end of the house receives the south sun. The rear is also where the living areas are located.

Plan #193-1121 – The Plan Collection

This passive solar house has a massive floor plan totaling 3,477 square feet (323 square meters). The style is contemporary, featuring colossal glass windows and a foundational structure that is primarily stone. 

Rendering of Plan #193-1121 by the Plan Collective
Courtesy of The Plan Collection

This house has four bedrooms spread out over one floor. It also contains two full baths and one half-bath—you’ll get your steps in with this house! 

The bedrooms are all placed together wall-to-wall, making for easy access as a family. Therefore, you can find the dining room, living room, laundry, and garage on the other side of the house. 

Besides the bedrooms, you’ll find an additional room the manufacturers suggest using as an office, but it can be used as a fifth bedroom under the right circumstances. 

The ceilings in this house are massive, standing at nine feet (2.7 meters). 

Some of the main features this house boasts include: 

  • Fireplace
  • Dining Room
  • Mud Room 
  • Family Room
  • Main Level Laundry
  • Vaulted Ceilings

Plan #132-1193 – The Plan Collection

This passive solar home is designed to be located along the beach or coastline. It features two stories and a stilted foundation and is the perfect home for those who want to enjoy a quiet life near the water. 

Rendering of a back view of Plan #132-1193 by The Plan Collective
Courtesy of The Plan Collection

The dwelling features three full baths and three bedrooms—one of the few with so many bathroom options. The top part of this home contains two of the three bedrooms, and the bottom floor includes the living room, kitchen, master suite, and master bath. 

This passive solar house also features a basement containing a storage area, two offices, a recreation room, and a wet bar. You truly can’t beat this solar home’s amount of space. 

One of its best features is the huge windows facing outward from the front. There’s also a wraparound porch directly in front, which you can step onto from any of the front-facing bedrooms. 

One of the best things about this house is that it looks like a traditional home. Sometimes passive solar homes can stand out when part of a neighborhood, but not this one. You’ll blend in perfectly. 

This adobe is 2,281 square feet (211.91 square meters), which may be smaller than some of the other options we discussed today. Despite this, the open floor plan makes it seem significantly more extensive.

Plan #146-2806 – The Plan Collection

Exterior front view of Plan #146-2806 by the Plan Collective
Courtesy of The Plan Collection

This passive solar home qualifies as a passive solar home, but it’s not built for full-time use as much as for a vacation home. So while homeowners can use it full-time, you may need to employ additional traditional energy sources to keep it up and running fully. 

This house is another A-frame design with huge windows running along the side. It is another good option for building along the coastline or in areas with large slopes and uneven elevation. The front part of the house can be supported by additional beams if necessary. 

The structure features two full baths and three bedrooms. It has two stories, with one bedroom, the living room, dining room, laundry, and a bathroom on the bottom floor. The top floor contains two additional rooms as well as a balcony room. 

The balcony room is a unique feature of this home, providing the perfect place to read, write, or do additional activities while looking out of the massive windows that this room is equipped with. 

The square footage of this house totals 1,933 square feet (179.58 square meters). Of course, this size isn’t huge, but there’s still a ton of room available in its design. 

Safe Haven – Sun Plans

The Safe Haven home is another model featured with Sun Plans, and it’s an excellent option for building and staying long-term. This house is definitely one to settle down in. 

Interior view of the The Safe Haven
Courtesy of Sun Plans

The Safe Haven features huge main living areas that provide tons of open space for those who enjoy walking rather than settling in. In addition, the built-in dining nook is one of the best features of this home since the person seated can enjoy the view through the south-facing windows on the back side of the house. 

This home comes well-equipped for those living in colder weather. Even amid a power outage in the dead of winter, you’ll remain warm and cozy in this solar home. It features a grand fireplace and a wood stove, which ensures that no matter what time of year it is, it’ll take care of you. 

This home features one primary floor with an additional daylight basement. The basement is 1,456 square feet (135.27 square meters), and the primary floor is 1,613 square feet (149.85 square meters). Ideally, it would face north so that the large southern windows can collect light and warmth throughout the day.

This home is best suited to be placed in a wooded area with many available natural resources for staying warm. 

Mesa Suite – Sun Plans

This passive solar home is technically two stories tall, but the top floor is only a loft area totaling 68 square feet (6.32 square meters)—the bottom floor of this home is where all the action takes place. 

Rendering of the Mesa Suite by Sun Plans
Courtesy of Sun Plans

The Mesa Suite features a total of two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It is designed to let in light from every angle, but the best view of the light comes from the central clerestory. This area provides light for the master bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, and the dining room. It even lights up the top loft. 

This passive solar home is built similarly to a traditional home, with fewer windows and more wood. However, the primary light source ties this house together and makes it enormously appealing. 

This house features 1,724 square feet (160.16 square meters), with 1,656 square feet (153.85 square meters) on the bottom floor alone. 


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