Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Blue Crump, 36

Founder and Principal
Cityspace Construction and Urban Grid Solar

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Blue Crump is very green.

But he's not a hippie. Not even close.

“No, I'm a capitalist,” he says, laughing. “I like air conditioning.”

Crump, the founder of green-building company Cityspace Construction and its alternative energy division, Urban Grid Solar, is Richmond's champion for sustainable, eco-friendly living. The benefit of green building isn't fuzzy good feelings, he says — it's saving money in the long run. “A house that's green is a house that's well built,” he likes to say.

Commercial and residential buildings use about 41 percent of the nation's energy, according to the federal Energy Information Agency, and account for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. The installations done by Urban Grid Solar in 2010 will offset more than 4.8 million pounds of greenhouse gases during their 25-year lifetime, Crump calculates — the equivalent of saving 6,800 barrels of oil, or planting 11,600 mature trees.

A building doesn't have to be made of recycled aluminum to be green. Take 1417 Grove Ave. From the outside it's a classically pretty, three-story Fan row house. But the house, which Crump's company restored after a fire, has a green roof, solar electric panels, a living wall and recaptures rainwater.

Crump also has been working with Cooper Vineyards in Louisa County to build a tasting room that's certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known as LEED. Vineyard co-owner Geoffrey Cooper praises the company for suggesting ways to save money while executing the architect's plans, shaving 10 percent off the project's cost.

Crump preaches the gospel of green in places such as Capitol Hill, where he's lobbied for cap and trade emission controls, and local elementary schools, where he fields kids' questions about solar and alternative energy.

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