[GSBN] TLS -Putting a Project Together
stoneandstraw at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 6 15:41:04 CDT 2010
In 1999, I went through five potential lenders before I figured out Chris' strategy. I erased the words straw bales from every page of my plans except the front page notes. Of the ~35 notes, three of them mentioned straw bales, but after the fifth lender turned me down, all of the other pages (sections through, paln views, details) simply said "cellulose insulation"). By leaving the notes on the front page, I was clearly not lying to the lenders, but rather taking advantage of the fact that they usually don't read the notes - until it is too late to change their minds. Less than two hours before we were to sign the loan docs, the lender called my up, freaking out about "straw bales." I held his hand on the phone for nearly 45 minutes, but I am convinced that what made the difference was that he was too embarassed to tell his superiors that he had missed this "vital detail" until the day of the signing. BTW, after my house, this lender made a specialty of lending on "green" projects. I lost touch with him after a few years, so I don't know if he kept it up, but for at least a while, he was really proud of the being the "green lender" for our area. %^}
Getting the permit was relatively easy. Ours was the first straw bale home in Placer County and when I brought my plans in, the CBO said to me, "we were wondering when we'd see you." ...not meaning me, myself; but rather the first straw bale home applicant. I am sure it helped some that I was on the Board of CASBA and had writtne the report for the CEC on the thermal properties of straw bale walls, but I am also very confident that even w/o those advantages, it would not have been a big "sle" to get them to issue the permit.
----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Prelitz
To: gsbn at greenbuilder.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: [GSBN] TLS -Putting a Project Together
Hi Joyce and friends,
I'll pipe in on a strategy I've found useful for both insurance and financing (after lurking here for eons.) This may be old news - but just in case:
Paper pushers at most regulatory, permitting, and banking institutions typically want a project to fit into a nice neat little box
where they can check off that everything is in order. Say the scary straw word or write strawbale on a form,
and there's a good chance you'll raise a red flag, need stacks more paperwork, maybe even trigger a higher rate,
or get a thumbs down altogether. I avoid using the word 'straw' whenever possible with those chaps.
On insurance and finance applications, my home is wood framed and insulated with organic cellulose material with a 1 hour fire rating.
Wood, wood frame, and cellulose are all on their forms. I haven't seen the word strawbale on insurance or mortgage applications - yet.
Sure it's a wee bit nefarious and doesn't forward the widespread acceptance of straw-bale - but if there's no other way - it can work.
Prelitz + Partners
1215 Bluebird Canyon Drive
Laguna Beach, Ca. 92651
p 949 494 6353
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