RainShine House
The FIRST modernist LEED Platinum residence in the Southeastern United States
The RainShine house is a two-story, 2800-square foot, three-bedroom, 31/2-bath home located in Decatur, Georgia on a 1/3-acre infill lot. Homes in the surrounding single-family neighborhood are of mixed vintage and style ranging from the late 1920’s to present, Tudor cottage to post war saltbox to ranch. Located 1 1/2 blocks from downtown Decatur, RainShine is in a very walkable neighborhood convenient to shopping, great restaurants, excellent transit options, many other community resources and a remarkable diversity of cultural opportunities.

The project site was specifically selected to allow the owners to pursue their preferred lifestyle of walking, biking and using mass transit in their day-to-day lives. For them, minimizing their dependency on personal automobiles will result in fewer car trips and thus contribute to less pollution, congestion, less use of imported oil, and a healthier, more community-oriented lifestyle. RainShine, however, does occupy a challenging 1/3-acre site. Although the property is within sight of the subcontinental divide, buildable area is constrained by a man made flood plain (resulting from poor municipal culvert design and a huge nearby asphalt church parking lot with inadequate runoff controls), stream buffer requirements and a sewer easement transversing the site as well as the usual residential zoning setbacks. These factors result in a trapezoidal shaped 3,778 square foot area available for building. The house, porches and decks are thus tightly defined within these limitations but take advantage by orienting to the open space afforded through the easement and buffer.



RainShines sustainability goals were paramount and achieved through passive solar techniques and devices (overhangs, south facing louvers, solar eyebrows, light shelves, increased insulation, operable solar shades, motor operated clerestory windows) as well as energy efficient systems (including natural ventilation, geothermal heat pumps, LED lighting and energy recovery ventilation). Additional features include: high efficiency appliances, extensive use of environmentally preferable/high durability/salvaged/recycled/reclaimed materials and products, zero VOC paints and sealants, no irrigation, drought tolerant native species landscaping and (through incorporation of rain garden and rainharvest systems) post project runoff equivalent to a woodland state. RainShine is the first modernist LEED Platinum Certified house in the southeastern United States.

Robert M. Cain, Principal in Charge
Carmen Stan, Project Architect
Don Easson, Systems Engineer
Robert Soens, Builder


Paul Hultberg

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