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Biography of Dan Chiras

Dan Chiras, Ph.D. is a man of many interests, talents, and pursuits. He is an avid reader, photographer, singer/songwriter, nonfiction and fiction writer, textbook author, an authority on and practitioner of self-sufficiency and sustainability, an accomplished teacher and public speaker, river runner, hiker, mountain biker, cross country
skier, and a passionate nature lover.

To read Dan’s full biography click here:

Sustainable Systems Design, Inc.

Dan formed Sustainable Systems Design, Inc. in 1994 and continues to offer design services and consulting on super energy-efficient, passive solar and solar electric
maximally sustainable, green-built homes.

He also offers lectures, webinars, advice, and occasional workshops on self-sufficient and sustainable living, residential renewable energy, green building, Chinese greenhouses, and indoor LED hydroponic gardening.

To contact Dan regarding services please call or text him at (636) 303-9884.

Colorado Center for Creative Writing

In addition to his many nonfiction books and articles, Dan has written three novels, including Here
Stands Marshall published by the Public Press, and dozens of short stories.

To share his knowledge and experience, he has created the Colorado Center for Creative Writing
through which he teaches workshops on fiction writing as well as song writing for writers in
southwestern Colorado.

Wind River Music

Dan has written numerous songs and recorded demos and performs at various venues.

For more information and a link to his website Wind River Music click here.

Lectures and Workshops


The Power of Creative Wordsmithing – Sponsored by Four Corners Writers

May 15th, 2024 — 6 to 7:30 PM Colorado Mountain Time

Reading exceptional writing is one of the cornerstones of becoming a better writer. Reading with a careful eye, you can discover the many elements of fiction that synergize to create truly great works of fiction. In this workshop, we will explore the ways great writers paint pictures with words, how they stimulate their readers’ senses, and the importance of writing riveting opening lines that captivate a readers’ imaginations and draw them.

Location: The ZU Gallery, Cortez, Colorado


Creative Writing Workshop – Learn to Write Like a Pro

May 4, 11, and 25 and June 1, 2024 – 9 AM to Noon

Want to learn to write like a pro? Learn how to create short stories and novels that intrigue literary agents and acquisition editors at publishing houses? 

In this workshop, we will explore many of the key elements that make great fiction truly great. We will study examples from accomplished writers from earlier times like Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe but focus most of our attention on contemporary award-winning writers of novels and short stories. We’ll explore the many factors that make stories rich and rewarding to readers including the creative use of language to spice up a work of fiction, the power of similes and metaphors to add deeper meaning, ways to paint pictures with words that stimulate a reader’s senses, the value of carefully crafted symbolism, the art of great opening lines, how characters are memorably portrayed, the art of crafting clever and meaningful dialogue, and much more. This is a hands-on workshop so you’ll have plenty of time to practice what you are learning.  

This course meets Saturday mornings at the Cortez Cultural Center in Cortez, Colorado on May 4, 11, and 25 and June 1 from 9 to noon upstairs in the conference room. Bring paper and pen or your laptop.  Call Dan Chiras at 636-303-9884.  Some scholarships are available.


About the Teacher

Dan Chiras, Ph.D. is a gifted teacher known for his ability to make learning fun and interesting and a highly accomplished writer who has published 40 books and hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics, including 60 articles in major  encyclopedias.

Dan began writing and studying fiction at age 18 and has continued to pursue his passion for more than 40 years. He studied creative writing as an undergraduate and has written three novels and several dozen short stories. Dan has also written over 100 songs. Dan has taught creative writing workshops. His most recent (as-yet unpublished) book is The Finer Points of Fiction: Read the Best to Write Your Best.



Dan’s most recent books include:

  • Grow Lettuce in Your Living Room
  • The Chinese Greenhouse
  • Survive in Style: Prepper’s Guide to Living Comfortable through Disasters

His most popular (best-selling) books include:

  • The Homeowners Guide to Renewable Energy
  • Power from the Sun
  • Solar Electricity Basics
    The Solar House
  • The Natural House
  • Green Home Improvement

Dan has also written a handful of self-help books including:

  • EcoKids: Raising Children who Care for the Earth
  • Things I Learned too Late in Life
  • The Finer Points of Fiction: Read the Best to Write Your Best
  • Kratom: Things You Need to Know to Use it Safely

For a complete list of the books that Dan has published CLICK HERE


Chinese Greenhouse

The Chinese Greenhouse Purchase this book on Amazon   Design and Build a Low-Cost, Passive Solar Greenhouse by Dan Chiras   Originally developed in China to feed millions, Chinese greenhouses are earth-sheltered, solar-heated, east-west oriented, intelligently…

Solar Electricity Basics

Solar Electricity Basics – Revised and Updated 2nd Edition Powering Your Home or Office with Solar Energy by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon Climate change and limits to fossil fuels compel us to…

Power from the Sun

Power from the Sun – 2nd Edition A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity – Revised 2nd Edition Purchase this book on Amazon   by Dan Chiras Written for the layman, this is the fully revised and…

Wind Power Basics

Wind Power Basics A Green Energy Guide by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon   Humans have harnessed wind power for centuries. It is the fastest growing source of energy in the world, and…


Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods Purchase this on Amazon   by Dan Chiras and Dave Wann Superbia! is a book of practical ideas for creating more socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods. It is about remaking suburban…

Solar Home Heating Basics

Solar Home Heating Basics A Green Energy Guide by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon   As fossil fuel supplies dwindle, home heating will be one of the major challenges in temperate and cold…

Scoop on Poop

The Scoop on Poop Safely capturing and recycling the nutrients in greywater, humanure and urine by Dan Chiras Purchase this book on Amazon   Flush it and forget it is the plumbing mantra of the industrialized…

Natural Plaster Book

The Natural Plaster Book Earth, Lime and Gypsum Plasters for Natural Homes   by Cedar Rose Guelberth and Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon For builders of natural homes (straw bale, cob, adobe, rammed earth, and…

Green Transportation Basics

Green Transportation Basics A Green Energy Guide by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon   Our automobile culture is devastating for the environment, but private passenger vehicles are unlikely to disappear from our roads…

EcoKids Book

EcoKids Raising Children Who Care for the Earth   by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon To forge a sustainable future, we need citizens who care for the Earth. We need citizens who understand…

Power from the Wind

Power from the Wind – 2nd Edition A Practical Guide to Small Scale Energy Production   by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon Skyrocketing energy costs and constant reminders of the impacts of conventional…

Homeowners Guide to Renewable Energy

The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy-Revised & Updated Edition Achieving Energy Independence through Solar, Wind, Biomass and Hydropower   by Dan Chiras   Purchase this book on Amazon   Energy bills have skyrocketed in North America,…