Every Sunlight home is custom designed to fit the lifestyle of the people who will live there. At Sunlight homes we design energy efficient homes that are wonderfully comfortable year-round, because they are designed for their specific climate and built to be strong, tight and super insulated. In cool weather, natural sunlight warms and brightens the home. In the summer, porches and overhangs shade the home from unwanted summer heat. We use polyurethane-filled structural insulated panels (SIPs) for a tight, super insulated structure. High performance windows and SIPs keep inside temperatures more stable and comfortable from season to season. If your budget allows, we can create a zero energy house design for you that is totally off the conventional energy grid for the ultimate in self sufficiency.

Eco House Designs

Mou-Wisconsin-dining-room-timber-truss-ceiling-french-patio-doorsAs custom green home designers, we practice the art and science of designing energy efficient homes that are resource-efficient, green and sustainable from design through construction and then throughout their life-cycle, minimizing environmental impact. In most climates the sun can passively provide heat in the winter and natural light year-round. In passive solar design this is accomplished without the use of mechanical devices.

When designing eco, green homes and especially in zero energy home design, the most far reaching, positive environmental impact is made by reducing the overall size of the home. The decision to downsize creates a chain reaction. A smaller home disturbs less land, uses fewer materials and resources, consumes less energy, requires less maintenance and costs less!

The size of your home will naturally relate to the size of your family and your home activities. Larger homes for bigger families can still have an energy efficient design and use strategies like multiple use rooms to trim the size. Just as with smaller homes, they can be designed to have only the spaces they need and nothing more, eliminating wasted space. We support any attempt to build an eco, green home and we help each client find the best approach and the right balance for their situation.

Window technology is always advancing. Some new glazings have special coatings that provide more insulation while others allow more solar heat gain - good for the south side of passive solar homes in cold, sunny climates. Other coatings block solar heat gain, which is often helpful for exposed east and west facing windows and hotter climates. Based on the design and the climate, we choose the appropriate coatings for windows depending which way they face. Natural day lighting is always enjoyed throughout all of our homes.

Active Solar

Active solar systems use mechanical devices to capture energy from the sun. Photovoltaic (PV) systems are the most common form of active solar system. They collect the radiation from the sun and convert it to electricity. PV systems have become much more efficient and much less expensive over the last few years and, with tax credits making them even more affordable, are worth serious consideration. Many places now offer Net Metering, where the local power company buys back solar electricity from individuals. Check with your local utility for more information.

Other common active solar systems are known as Solar Thermal systems. These harness sunlight to heat a liquid which is then piped into the house to a heat exchanger. The heat can be used to heat the home or provide domestic hot water. Due to the complexity and maintenance required, solar thermal systems are becoming less popular in recent years, especially as PV systems becomes more cost effective.

Features of a Sustainable, Eco Sunlight Home

Every Sunlight home is super insulated and designed with sustainable passive solar design features. Many of our clients also choose PV systems, or plan for them in design for future installation. Sunlight homes blend architecturally with their surroundings while fitting the aesthetic tastes of their owners. We incorporate passive and active solar and green home design according to the specific climate, building site, design needs/wants and building budget. Higher grade building materials used in Sunlight homes work better and last longer with less maintenance. Living “lightly” offers freedom and independence, promotes health and contributes toward a more sustainable future. Sunlight homes are light, comfortable, beautiful, responsible, practical, environmentally friendly and wonderful to live in.

Those fortunate enough to build their own custom homes have the opportunity to make a significant, long-term, positive, environmental impact by choosing energy efficiency, sustainability and conservation in every aspect of their green custom home design. Those who go the zero energy home route will pay more, but will make an even larger environmental impact. Making good environmental choices is a statement that will help teach others, by example, the value of a more sustainable environmental perspective. We have made it our life’s work to help our clients achieve these goals.