Starting Up: Greensteps

Laura Blau taught energy savings to her six year old son, Nandor, using the green cloth dragon that hangs from his bedroom door. Every night, if Nandor’s clothes are still clean, he puts them inside the dragon’s pouches and wears them the next day. Overtime, Laura does less laundry and when she does, she uses cold water and line dries.
Now with GreenSteps, a project of BluPath Design, the LEED accredited architecture firm that Laura co-owns with husband Paul Thompson, she’s showing the rest of Philly that saving energy can be simple and cheap. Putting a little effort into daily habits, Laura says, saves money, hassle and time better spent with family and friends. In addition to high-tech systems based remodeling and seminars on energy ratings, GreenSteps offers assistance with at-home energy thrift, green products and lifestyles, and web, book and periodical resources. Laura can show you how to energy-tighten your home, improve indoor air quality and orient a building towards the sun.
GreenSteps was first launched as Green Home Basics, a pilot program for Philadelphia University’s continuing education where attendees brainstormed and developed personalized energy savings strategies. The course was so popular it continued the next semester and in the past few months, it’s become a full-fledged business. They work with corporations as well as affordable housing agencies and community development corporations. Having spent over five years creating some of Philly’s sustainable structures, including much of The UArts campus, Laura and Paul know it’s not just buildings that need their help. “There’s just so much info out there,” Laura says. “People look at all that info and they just shut down. We’re trying to guide them through the maze…We recognized that we needed to get things moving along a little faster than just one client at a time.”