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Now The Reason We're Here

I will not whine.
But I'll admit I'm low.

The Colorado prefab house kit project is off.

After I gave this gentleman my own foundation plans for free (that I had paid to create for my own prefab house kit in Virginia), after we sent him confidential documents and SIPs drawings, after he picked my brain on EVERYTHING green building and systems related for a year, after he built the foundation to fit our prefab footprint, this gentleman suddenly disappeared when it came time to order his prefab house kit.

For weeks, no phone calls or emails were returned. 

And then today we got a call from our network of SIPs plants.  
"Hey Joe, we've got a casa ti going up in Colorado but it doesn't say anything about us sending information or payment to Green Modern Kits?"
Do you really think we won't find out? Really?

If one more prefab house kit customer puts in a paltry deposit to then get our detailed construction information, then disappears because they were talked out of an efficient prefab house kit by a contractor who doesn't understand green building technology and doesn't want to learn to work with SIPs, persuaded into a less energy-efficient stick built  copy just to "save" a thousand dollars...
...for those that try to take our designs and work with another SIPs plant who might quote them a few hundred dollars less and crudely mimick our design...
Shame on you.

Ok: For those that want to rip us off to save a few (seriously, a FEW) bucks, let me lay this out for you:


Fortunately we are busy with the West Virginia, Virginia, and more prefab house kit projects to concern ourselves with you. Your project is now considered what they call in construction a "one off."
That means, you are alone.

In the end, your prices will pretty-assuredly be higher, because you are not within our network, not just for the house kit, but for all kinds of other stuff: systems, cladding... it will add up, your lone contractors lack of a network of global green building yet affordable knowledge and vendors.

I thought it might be a good time to, for those that wonder, explain what you DON'T get when you rip off our Green Modern Kits / Green Cottage Kits / Green Cabin Kits designs:

You might take a page off our web site and get some local SIPs guy to *kinda* reproduce our house kit.
  • Your SIPs won't have the 20 year guarantee, the experienced plant support, documentation, manuals, the in-depth knowledge about all the hidden features of our house kits... 
  • You won't have the interest of our custom architects (who would never approach your market because their job is to build custom dream homes for millions of dollars) looking over your shoulder and checking your team's work to make sure that, although on an affordable budget, your prefab house kit looks like a million dollar design and works just as efficiently and your product choices tread lightly, elegantly on the land.
  • You will not be able to pick the SIPs plant or our brains for what systems work best for your local conditions and needs. 
  • You will not be in our prefab house kit gallery and blogs where people can find your house kit to see what you did with it, and learn about your business.
  • Like Airstream and Sears Homes, your home will NOT be featured and admired as an official Green Modern Kits prefab home on national tours fifty years down the road. Oh, you scoff, but I am convinced these tours will happen, because here you not just buy a house kit product, an energy efficient passive design prefab house kit, but you buy the team experience, support, connection with other house kit purchasers; YOU INVEST IN AND BECOME A PART OF OUR GLOBAL COMMUNITY of green building experience.
We're (Green Modern KitsGreen Cottage KitsGreen Cabin Kits) not going anywhere, but your one-off contractor might. We have the solid foundation of amazing architects with passive design in affordable prefab house kits.  So when you have questions, years down the road? We'll be here.

Because of you, Mr. P., my attitude might have shifted slightly.  
I'm beginning to feel... taken advantage of.

*Maybe* we need to ditch affordable housing and return to custom, high end only design for only those that have stacks and stacks o' money.  Maybe we should stop with the Prefab Open Houses and the welcoming phone calls and answering emails for 2-3 hours a day answering all your general green building questions... Maybe we'll only speak to those that can afford our custom designer prices.

And then I find this:
(THANKS, many grateful thanks, to Bethe Almeras... i.e. The Grass Stain Guru
who reminded me that maybe that is just not how Copeland Casati or the family of Green Modern Kits operates.)

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine

And yes, I'm speaking in full caps, because you really need to sit, and watch it fully (full text here).

At the end of her talk? I have the same sentiments, welllllll, maybe except maybe for the Death Eater part: : )
"...But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives?...
If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. 
I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, people who have been kind enough not to sue me when I took their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister. 
So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
I wish you all very good lives.
Thank you very much."
Being a friend, a true friend... for life... is everything, and I approach business the same way.
I wish you all very good lives.
That is what matters in the end.
I was livid and shocked when I began this post, but now I'm over it and moderately cheerful.
What I've always aimed to do is not only be a good friend, but to help create beautiful, functional housing at good prices in communities.  To foster and encourage community, through green building in a smart growth setting.

Plus: As my friend Justin often says, "Don't steal. It's bad karma."

June Carter Cash - Keep on the sunny Side

So, fine. There's dem sum bad apples everywhere, but I won't look down at that.
Here, we are all of us in the gutter
but some of us are lookin' at the stars. 

This post dedicated to, in order of appearance, my childhood friends, and good friends made later, today, that still after all these years make me sunny: Anna, Sally, Leah, Marc, Eric, Katja, Patti (er, Patricia), Violette, Lori & Nate, Melanie & Mark, Amy, and all our Green Modern Kits and Pamplin City friends... and especially, Handsome Husband.

Pretenders ... message of love




At 9/28/10, 5:30 PM , Anonymous Christine Hanlon said...

Thank you Copeland. Thank you for posting and thank you for putting things back in to focus. I too have had a day such as you. I really needed this.


At 9/28/10, 6:35 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

The amazing, kind, supportive comments I have gotten just an hour since posting this have more than made up for the sadness of being taken advantage of in my business.

It's inspiring people and good friends that remind us of the bigger picture, and I'm certain it brings bigger things for people who stay true and do the right thing!

Hope your day is brighter!

At 9/29/10, 8:00 AM , Blogger Jane said...

Copeland, I enjoy your blog and value what you are dong with GMK.

I was saddened to read this blog, and am so sorry to hear about the shabby behaviour of this 'client'.

Like many artists I've been ripped off, eaten my heart out about it, and then moved on, as you are doing.

In the end WE can look at ourselves in the mirror and know we did right, and maybe what goes around comes around, for both parties. I know where I'd rather be standing...

Wishing you success and completion.


At 9/29/10, 3:15 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Thank you for your kind words!

I suspect in the end he will pay us, for the SIPs manufacturer will not produce his kit otherwise (another advantage of having a strong design / production network. If he runs to another half-ass SIPs "I can make those panels, kinda" company then he will certainly not have an accurate fit for the foundation he already built to mesh perfectly with the particular SIPs for our prefab, nor the quality.

When he pays, however, (and I suspect he will as he finds out what trouble and headaches he has just put himself into when he can't get reputable SIPs) for our work, I will never endorse it as an actual GMK show house, for he has already violated our ethics, integrity, license agreement and Mean People clause -

And if he still steals?
Welllllllllll, I just learned about a little engineering sumthing-sumthing the factory had put in.

Which I would be happy to warn him about except he does not return our calls.

Karma's a BITCH, especially when it involves a passionate woman with pink hair.
; )

At 9/30/10, 5:34 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

More on this:
When you steal from us and switch to another SIPs manufacturer (because our manufacturer will recognize our stolen work), the documents you stole do not match the cheaper, lesser quality SIPs.

Especially important is the plating. So even if you cut out matching panels, it won't fit flush, with correct dimensions.

And there is a reason why I chose this manufacturer! Reputation, quality, 20 year guarantee...

Ok, enough of this, I am now going to have a guest post from Miss Nekkid Lady who came to visit last week, the fabulous Lauralyn! : )

At 3/25/11, 8:27 PM , Blogger Michael Forquer said...

As you have found out this world is full of all types of people. Not everyone has a sense of justice, honesty, or even integrity. You however have been blessed with the ability to design these amazing homes. I am just a poor public servant dreaming of selling my current 100 year old home and making enough profit to purchase your kit. If in the meantime I win the lottery I will make an order a little earlier. Keep up the good work. Just remember not everyone has your best interest in mind and it takes all kinds to make the world go round!

At 3/26/11, 11:44 AM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Thank you Michael! Every time I get a little low people like you make me smile and turn that hesitation into a "Me If I Were A Japanese Anime Cartoon" with steel toe butt kickin' determination (with a smile, with a smile, only use that for good! ; ) )!

: )
Thanks for your nice comment.

At 9/18/12, 2:19 AM , Anonymous Marianne said...

I totally agree with what Michael Forquer has said above. Only few people can actually make designs as excellent as yours. It is just amazing.

At 9/22/12, 6:59 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

*Thank you,* Marianne...
And good news, folks! There is a new project under way out further west, more details, soon!


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