Passive solar houses have become more popular over time.
These homes, known for being eco-conscious, often have large windows to capture sunlight and additional features that reduce the use of natural resources.
If you’ve ever considered building one of these houses, you’ll need a set of plans drawn up for your contractors to follow.
The best site to get your passive solar house plans is The Plan Collection, which contains an entire host of home blueprints and straightforward pricing. Other sites include Sun Plans, Sunlight Homes, and Passive Design.
Of course, hundreds of sites are out there for planning your perfect solar home, but today we’ll cover the best ones I’ve found.
So, let’s jump into the article.
For an introduction to passive solar homes, please take a look at our article, “What Is Passive Solar Energy? (How To Heat Your Home).”
The Plan Collection has the largest selection of passive solar house plans that I’ve found.
Their plans are structured by what type of house you want to purchase, including flat-top homes, a-frame houses, and more.
Regarding The Plan Collection, you can filter what types of houses you want.
For example, you can choose how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, and the site will only show those plans.
Additionally, you can select a specific house design, such as flat-top houses, and only see those.
One of the best features of this site is how well it’s organized and how much information is readily available.
When looking at the overview of house plans, you can see the following:
- The plan number
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms it includes
- How many square feet the house is
- The price where the plan starts
Of course, the lowest price is shown, sometimes for a study plan and sometimes for a single PDF build. The base price goes up depending on what features you want to be included in the plan.
For example, you can purchase a basic PDF or a CAD plan, which shows you a 3D model of the house. You can also choose to buy reproducible plans or multiple sets.
Overall, this site has some of the best features I’ve seen concerning passive solar houses. It’s efficient, informative, and easy to navigate and find exactly what you’re looking for.
Passive Design Solutions is another site I would highly recommend.
They specialize in energy-efficient houses and have various plans to select from. The plans include designs for small cottages, large homes, and everything in between.
One of the best features of this site is its net zero passive house plans, which give you the most energy-efficient, cost-effective, low-maintenance houses available.
These houses use the smallest amount of energy possible, with substantial open designs that utilize natural resources, such as large amounts of solar energy.
Passive Design Solutions isn’t quite as well organized as The Plan Collection. However, it’s still relatively easy to scroll through their available plans.
The main difference is that you aren’t able to choose the house type or amount of bedrooms and bathrooms ahead of time. Instead, you scroll through the house plans until you find one that catches your eye.
However, one thing I do like significantly more about this site is that it provides you with an overview of the energy usage of each house. Therefore, you know what you can expect to save when going with that particular house design over a traditional house.
In this section, you can see what building code the house design was built to — for example, Built to Passive building codes. You can then see the annual energy usage the home would use and the annual costs of running the house.
Comparing an energy-efficient home by Passive Design Solutions and traditional homes is enormously helpful in selecting the best option.
Sun Plans comes from architect Debra Rucker Coleman. This site contains over one hundred and fifty plans for passive solar and sun-tempered houses.
This site is well organized, with the ability to browse all the house plans or filter by bedrooms, bathrooms, or square footage.
One of the unique features of this site is that it gives information such as what direction the entry of the house should face. This is especially helpful for people building their homes while incorporating some eastern philosophies such as Feng Shui.
In addition, it’s beneficial for individuals who prefer the house to face a certain way and would be interested in knowing its energy statistics.
Sun Plans features designs of all types, including traditional structures, flat-top houses, and more.
Additionally, each house design has a backstory behind how it came to be. When you click on the house design, you can see a small blurb about how the house plan came into being.
If you’re the type that enjoys learning about the backstories, then this site will be perfect for you.
Sunlight Homes differs a little from some of the other sites I’ve discussed thus far.
Instead of presenting house designs that are already entirely laid out, the founders of Sunlight Homes aim to design a passive solar home from scratch.
The best part about this site is how much information you can gather to make the best choice for a passive solar house.
Even if you don’t want to design the house yourself, you can learn an incredible amount by reading on this site and connecting with the designers from Sunlight Homes.
This site provides information on the following:
- Designing with the sun
- Passive solar designs
- Big homes
- Small homes
- Cheap spaces
- Integrated design
- And more
There’s so much to discover here, regardless of what you’re looking for.
This site is the least organized. However, they do a great job discussing each design’s background.
For each house plan, the designers have provided information on why the plan is energy efficient and how you can best utilize your resources for maximum energy saving.
As you browse, you’ll notice that some houses are built more energy efficient, and others are structured similarly to traditional homes. However, all homes are built to receive solar energy, allowing you to heat your home entirely using natural sunlight.
Each house plan contains information such as the height of the ceiling, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Architectural House Plans has an enormous selection of passive solar house plans. You can choose between:
- Cottage house plans
- Contemporary plans
- Farmhouse plans
- Bungalow plans
- Lake house plans
- And so much more
If you have a particular design, this site can convert it into a reality of a solar house.
One thing I appreciate about this site is that they list the common characteristics of all passive solar house plans. This description gives you a quick overview of what to look for when choosing a passive solar house plan rather than being left in the dark.
Under each style of the solar house, you can view a description of what this type of house entails, including the house’s main features and other information, such as how much light you would expect this style to let in.
Another thing that’s great about this site is that they’re precise about the information of each plan, whereas some other sites require payment first.
For example, some of the information Architectural House Plans lists is the total above-ground living area versus below-ground and how much square footage is on the main and upper levels.
You can also see how many bedrooms are on the top floor versus the bottom, the exact house height, and a complete house description.
This site has gone above and beyond to create the perfect passive solar design house.
America’s Best House Plans has a bit of a limited selection compared to many other sites today, but the thing I love about this site is that all the specifics about the house are laid out clearly.
The readability factor is better than almost any other site.
The other thing you’ll find on this site is that many of the plans listed are on sale. So, America’s Best House Plans offers you a discount on many of the plans. This is helpful if you’re working on a budget or want to purchase a plan immediately.
Another helpful feature of this site is the option to quickly add a house plan to My Listor Rule Out. This feature allows you to quickly scroll through all the plans and save the ones you’re more interested in while disregarding those you don’t feel would be a good fit.
Most of the plans listed on this site only come in a PDF single-build form, so it’s a bit limited.
However, one of the excellent parts of America’s Best House Plans is that their plans are cheaper and payment plan options are available.
For example, if you qualify for affirm, you can make monthly payments rather than needing to pay everything upfront.
Final Thoughts On Passive Solar House Plans
There is a vast array of websites offering passive solar house plans online.
Some sites allow you to filter the options so you only see the plans with specific options you choose, which can be a significant time-saver.
All the sites listed above are good for helping you do your research before choosing a design. Still, the one I like best is The Plan Collection, thanks to its vast collection of designs and excellent organization and filtering features.
If you’re wondering whether passive solar home designs can work effectively in cold climates, you should read our article on that topic here.