An expert in solar energy, green building, and sustainability will speak at William Woods University next week.
Dr. Dan Chiras, founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and author of 33 books on the topic of green living, will give a presentation on renewable energy, green building, sustainability and energy efficiency. His program, scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, in Dulany Auditorium, is free and open to the public.
In addition to his books, which include five college textbooks, Chiras has written more than 350 articles on a range of topics, from renewable energy to green building. A former college professor, he also teaches classes through the Evergreen Institute.
Now living and working in a solar-powered home in Gerald, Missouri, Chiras and his wife lived for 20 years on a 60-acre farm in Colorado, surviving completely on solar and wind power and raising grass-fed beef and free-range chickens and ducks for market.
Chiras built a state-of-the-art rammed earth tire and straw bale home with solar electric panels on the roof in 1995. He later installed a wind generator to supply his own electrical needs. He drove an all-electric Nissan Leaf and converted his Chevy S-10 pickup to electricity.
He heated his home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 8000-feet above sea level, with energy from the sun thanks to passive solar design. For backup heat on those cold winter nights, he burned a cord of wood a year, gathered free from his community. His annual gas bill, mostly for showers and cooking, ran about $120 a year – about $2 to $3 per month for natural gas and $10 per month to read the meter.
Chiras has been studying sustainability and applying what he has learned in solar energy, natural building, and green building for 30 years. Through lectures, writing, slide shows and workshops he has been sharing what he has found. He writes extensively for magazines, journals, newsletters and newspapers, and his articles appear regularly in such magazines as Home Power, Mother Earth News, Natural Home and The Last Straw.