Dan Chiras





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3/15/2011
Far from being weeds, spring's earliest greens are packed with nutrition and help detox the body.
2/24/2010
Energy expert Dan Chiras shares the technique of conserving water with a two-gallon bucket.
3/16/2009
Not all wind generators are equally effective. Learn the pros and cons of vertical and horizontal axis wind turbines.
3/4/2009
You say you’re an environmentalist, but are you practicing what you preach?
2/26/2009
It took a long time to get into this mess. It will take a while to get out of it.
2/17/2009
Are we spending too many resources to restore an economic system that was broken anyway? It's time for a new economy.
2/10/2009
We have to rethink our dependence on spending to make the economy work.
3/4/2009
If you’re interested in a green career, here’s some helpful advice.
5/1/2009
Learn how to build your own wind turbine, install your own solar panels and convert your car to electricity with hands-on teaching by Dan Chiras.
2/27/2009
The new economy promises an abundance of green jobs. Are you ready?
5/1/2009
Dan Chiras elaborates on his previous blog about the disadvantages of vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs).
2/27/2012
If you're like me, your life's been a series of trials and errors, mistakes and missteps. At times we get it right, but many other times we founder. The goal of my new blog is to help you and others spend more time enjoying life and less time in pain and struggle.
8/18/2012
Your mind can often trip us up, make things worse than they are, even lead us into disaster. You can control your own mind and change negative messages to positive ones, creating a much more productive,calmer. and fullfilling life.
3/26/2010
The energy a PV system will produce during its lifetime far exceeds the amount of energy it takes to produce the PV system
2/1/2010
The old rules of building suggest that, at a certain point, additional insulation would result in diminished returns — but those rules no longer apply.
1/22/2010
Do you see yourself in an electric car? Dan Chiras lists the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, and predicts the benefits will increase as the technology becomes more sophisticated.
2/24/2009
Save thousands on a solar electric system by learning this simple secret.
3/9/2009
If you’re thinking about getting a solar electric system to help the environment and save money, think about efficiency first.
3/19/2013
Smile more and experience an uplifted mood for the rest of your day.  
3/17/2010
Dan Chiras announces a four-day energy workshop he'll be teaching in Kansas City, Mo.
11/19/2014
A reader wonders how often to change furnace filters to keep the air clean in her home. Learn the frequency with which homeowners should replace a furnace filter.
4/29/2013
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
3/28/2013
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
2/26/2010
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
2/4/2010
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
1/25/2010
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
1/6/2010
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares tips for saving on energy costs by sealing leaks in your home.
12/10/2009
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares details about The Evergreen Institute's new Renewable Energy Educator Certificate program, designed to prepare teachers to train a new generation of renewable energy professionals to meet the needs of a growing industry.
11/27/2009
Dan Chiras points out the efforts already being made to increase availability of renewable energy professionals and educators and talks about The Evergreen Institute's new goals to raise interest among potential students.
9/25/2010
Kevin Danaher, the first keynote speaker of the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, proved an appropriate choice to kick off the event. His presentation, Green Jobs are the Future, was an upbeat assessment of what ordinary citizens can do to affect positive economic change.  It also reminded everyone gathered that in order “to save the eco-system, we must transcend the ego-system.”  
9/17/2014
A few words describing how I came to Dancing for Birth and why I believe every woman should dance through her birth.
1/4/2013
In this New Year, my first recommendation for personal transformation is to give compliments generously to those who grace your life. You'll brighten the lives of others and your own life enormously.
5/17/2011
Springtime in Urbania can be fraught with temptations at the stores. I have managed to navigate these temptations, sometimes just by 'smelling the clover hay'! Now that the veggies are in, all we have to do is wait for the summer vegetable frittata!
2/16/2010
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
2/10/2013
To counteract life's stresses and strains, to slow down the pace of life, stop and smell the roses...or any flower. In the absence of flowers, you'll find another way to bring a smile to your face, the songs of birds.
2/25/2013
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
11/3/2012
Many of us spout opinions and make bold assertions based on very little evidence. Our ignornance is often mistaken for perspective. We think we know a lot more than we do. Take time to acquire knowlede and create true wisdo. It has a settling effect.
3/13/2012
In each of us is an innervoice that really knows what we want to be and what we want out of life but we continually ignore it for the sake of security or out of fear of failure or a million other reasons. Listen to the innervoice and heed its advice.
4/30/2012
Life is full of amazing things and remarkable people that make our lives richer and worthwhile. However, many of us hone in on what's wrong with life and others. Focusing on the good will bring great happiness to you. It will turn your life around.
5/21/2012
Many of us grow up disliking, even hating, ourselves. Learning to love oneself is no easy task, but it is vital to creating happiness and loving others. If you can learn to love yourself, you'll be rewarded many times over and be able to love others.
6/5/2012
Many people have trouble getting things done or done on time. The blog presents a simple technique that will help you become more effective and more successful in all you do.
6/23/2012
Many people waste too much time each trying to get motivated to work. As a result, they get a lot less done than they need to or would like to. In this blog, I show a way that has helped me for many years get motivated to work and stay on task.
7/1/2012
Are you one who can't get things done on time or follow up on promises? If so, you are probably an excuse maker. To get off the hook, you'll come up with a thousand reasons why you didn't get your work done. Read this blog and put an end to excuses.
7/22/2012
Our minds can play tricks on us, and often do, bending and shaping our perceptions to our own liking. As a result, what we hold to be true about ourselves, others, even the world around us, can be dead wrong.
8/1/2012
Many of us hold convictions about others and the world around us that are so wrong that they seriously misguide us, even rob us of happiness and contentment. Don't believe everything you think. Question your beliefs and discover the truth.
9/2/2012
One of the most powerful lessons I have learned in my life is the power of love to create happiness and harmony. Let your life and your interactions with others be goverened by your love for others. Make preserving and fostering love a goal.
5/14/2010
With new breakthroughs in solar electricity coming out every year, should you wait before investing in a solar electric system? Energy expert Dan Chiras discusses cost of PV modules in terms of cost per watt of installed capacity.
3/12/2010
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
2/19/2010
Energy expert Dan Chiras suggests a simple process for locating energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
2/11/2010
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun  would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
12/29/2009
Dan Chiras asks why GM hasn't brought the EV1 back yet.
3/8/2010
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
1/8/2010
Dan Chiras of The Evergreen Institute invites readers to attend a one-day conference on the future of building in Wichita, Kansas.
1/13/2011
Evergreen Institute founder's Missouri home burns; wood furnace is suspected cause.
1/5/2010
Dan Chiras, founder of The Evergreen Institute, shares information on locating renewable energy training facilities.
5/13/2014
Unlike many wild foods that take a long search, dandelions are found in almost every wood and meadow. And while many wild plants require special training to identify and discriminate from similar-looking poisonous plants, dandelions can be readily identified by every schoolchild.
10/1/2012
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
10/28/2012
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
10/28/2012
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
11/3/2012
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
11/11/2012
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
11/11/2012
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
11/19/2012
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
1/19/2013
This blog describes some of the details involved in building with insulating concrete forms, notably window and door buck details that you need to take into account
1/20/2013
Once the ICFs are in place and the walls are very well reinforced, it is time to pour concrete. This blog illustrates the process in words and photos.
1/20/2013
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
2/10/2013
The devil is in the details in a net zero energy home. Every single step in the design and construction of a home requires efforts to ensure airtightness. The top of the foundation is one detail that deserves special attention.
10/1/2012
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
6/25/2008
Daniel Sheridan found a way to turn children's energy into electrical power with a see-saw that generates electricity. The see-saw should generate enough electricity to light a classroom for a whole evening after only five to 10 minutes of use.
1/13/2013
Many of us make a habit out of complaining, when in fact our lives are pretty good. In this blog I suggest that gaining perspective -- focusing on how good your life really is -- will help you live a much happier life. Give it a try.
1/1/2013
In this blog, I challenge readers to abandon the typically new year's resolution and embarking on a New Year's Revolution. Read it and see if you'd like to join me on what could be an exciting and profitable new venture.
1/19/2013
We all have a rule book inscribed in our minds that dictates how we and others should act. Though handy at times, it often becomes a liability, a huge liability. See why in this blog and what you can do about it.
6/5/2012
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
6/21/2012
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
11/19/2012
Many people believe that their values define who they are. Unfortunately, many of our values don't translate into action. To live a fruitful, peaceful, and productive life, meld your values and actions. You'll be happier and content -- whole.
10/28/2012
Much to our chagrin, many things we believe are true are dead wrong. Things we believe about other people, health, medicine, renewable energy, and the environment are wrong. Start digging and you'll see and you will start living a smarter life.
10/1/2012
Worrying about what others think about you can drin you of energy and make you do some pretty stupid things. What if you could rid yourself of that penchant? What kind of life would you lead?
3/3/2012
Creating the life you want, both personally and professionally, requires clear goals. By establishing the direction of your journey and sticking to your goals, you can achieve anything you want.
3/9/2012
Many people admit that their lives haven't turned out the way they'd hoped. Fortunately, it is never too late to re-design and re-create your life so that you live up to your full potential and find the happiness and fulfillment you seek.
5/12/2012
Many of us suffer from low self-esteem. Negative self-images plague our lives, robbing us of happiness. Here's an exercise that can help you rid your self of those thoughts that prevent you from seeing who you really are.
6/10/2012
Getting started each day presents a major challenge to many people. With so many pressing demands, it's often difficult to know where to start. Feeling overwhelmed and panicked, you may end up frittering away your time. He's a trick to get you going.
7/8/2012
Many of us listen to negative internal messages about ourselves that drag us down, robbing us of happiness. To find happiness, you must change the dialogue inside your head. Focus on what is good in you and all that you do to brighten others' lives.
8/8/2012
Our minds are powerful things. The beliefs we hold and our perceptions can be dead wrong. Our minds can even create pain that doesn't exist. Questioning what we perceive and believe can help you live a more conscious, honest and successful life.
9/8/2012
In this political season, politicians often define people by their differences, creating strife and even outright contempt among people with opposing political views. Truth is, we have a great deal in common; it is our commonalities that bind us.
1/18/2010
Solar energy organization Show Me Solar comes highly recommended by renewable energy expert Dan Chiras for its 2010 list of workshops, webinars and other educational opportunities.
2/3/2010
The Evergreen Institute's application to provide continuing education for LEED accredited professionals has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council. A variety of workshops meeting required standards are now available for those interested in anything from solar electricity to straw bale construction.
12/28/2012
Many readers can't say no to spouses, children, bosses, and so on. To please and care for others, we often sacrifice ourselves, working long hours, exhausting our energy. There is a cure. It's a two-letter word that starts with n. Try it.
1/13/2010
Dan Chiras announces that five of The Evergreen Institute's workshops currently qualify as continuing education credits for LEED Accredited Professionals.
2/3/2012
Clearly the NACE considers “useless” degrees to be ones in which pay is low and availability of jobs is scarce. However, shouldn’t measuring the usefulness of an education take into account the actual benefits bestowed upon the person doing the study
8/5/2012
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
11/19/2012
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
11/19/2012
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
4/26/2013
If you want to achieve your goals, stop making excuses for the things that go wrong on your path to success. Learn from them. Never stop trying to improve. And never stop trying. Work smart and hard.
3/25/2013
Get out of your shell and lend a hand to those around you, even perfect strangers – you’ll be amazed at what you become and how your kindness touches others
6/14/2012
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
11/11/2012
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
11/11/2012
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
3/24/2012
LIfe is full of adversity. Whether you succumb to it or bounce back is up to you. Knowing that no matter what life throws your way you will emerge stronger will help you become more resilient and stronger and will help you create a happier life
4/2/2012
Life presents many challenges, but if you consciously choose to be strong and resilient you can recover more quickly and grow even stronger. Your experiences will make you better able to cope and will help you live a happier, more productive life.
4/10/2012
Adversity is a part of life. Enbrace the hard times. Sometimes, adversity can lead to new opportunities that allow us to pursue new paths, sometimes even re-invent our lives. Knowing something good may arise can help us cope with adversity, too.
11/11/2012
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
6/5/2011
Take a visual tour of the events at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
1/28/2013
OK,I'm giving no hints as to why you should think like a chemist...Read it and see for yourself. At the very least, you'll be entertained by a crazy new way of thinking about life.
5/12/2011
Floods are our nation's most common natural disaster, and they're threatening many areas right now. Take these prudent steps now to make sure you don't get caught off guard if floods threaten your home.
4/26/2012
Trace amounts of chemicals are particularly harmful to developing babies, which means expectant mothers should be careful. In the first post of a series, Jessica Kellner writes about the dangers of BPA and how to avoid the chemical.
6/20/2011
In New York City, advocates unveil a bold vision to end the traffic violence.
3/31/2011
You don't have to pay $50 a pound for fresh morel mushrooms. Watch this video and find out how to forage for morels yourself.
2/21/2013
We all have dreams but why is it that some are so lucky that they come true?
1/7/2011
The Evergreen Institute lowers prices to encourage more participating in its January workshops in home energy efficiency, electricity and electrical wiring, and basic PVs: An Introduction to Solar Electricity.
5/3/2012
In the second in a series on chemicals to avoid during pregnancy, Jessica discusses why and how to prevent dangerous pesticides and herbicides from entering our bodies and homes.
11/14/2014
Whether you're planning a last minute day trip or a multi-week expedition, these five hiking tips are a must for seasoned hikers and newcomers alike.
9/12/2013
From the outset, Earthineer was built to support and promote sustainability and homesteading as a lifestyle choice. Every feature we have planned has that goal in mind. What we have now is the foundation that we'll build off of.
10/19/2014
Tarps are lightweight and inexpensive alternatives to conventional backpacking shelters. Consider switching to a tarp for shelter in order to minimize pack weight and maximize your enjoyment in the great outdoors.
5/9/2012
This oven-braised pastured pork belly recipe from Dan Barber pairs the lush and fatty cut with a several-day cure using a salt and spice mixture to bring out one-of-a-kind flavor.
6/21/2012
Until we built a barn of our own and experienced the kindness of neighbors firsthand, I would have thought the notion of a barn raising to be a quaint relic of the past.
4/20/2012
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
4/29/2011
The Phoenix Commotion gives low-income people trade skills and shelter by teaching them to build their own homes--from garbage. You'd be amazed at what can be used to build a house when the desire and commitment exist.


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