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Author’s Corner: Kingsport’s 'Green Guy' writes book on sustainable living

Staff Report • Jan 8, 2019 at 8:00 PM

One of Dave Hrivnak’s goals after retirement was to write a book on sustainable living.

Hrivnak believes the main reason people are afraid of moving away from fossil fuels is that they assume life would be too hard, too restrictive and too costly, and they could not imagine an optimistic future without what he calls the “useful crutch” of fossil fuels.

So Hrivnak set out to find examples of households across the U.S. and Canada that have kicked the fossil fuel habit. What these people have discovered, he said, is rather than being difficult, life without fossil fuels is “better, freeing, empowering and less costly.”

Hrivnak’s new book, “Driving to Net 0 — Stories of Hope for a Carbon Free Future,” aims to present a sustainable future that he believes should be embraced rather than feared.

What is your background?

Hrivnak is a retired engineer who designed and built two well-insulated, passive solar homes in Kingsport. He converted his Chevy Avalanche and Toyota Prius into plug-in cars back in 2010, before there was a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or Tesla.

He and his family also added solar to their home, enough to not only power the house but their plug-in cars, as well.

What inspired you to write this book?

Hrivnak said scientists recommend that people reduce their use of fossil fuels by 80 percent or more to avert the most dangerous effects of global warming. But is such a drastic cut possible without totally disrupting everyday life?

Hrivnak believes the short answer is yes, as the contributors to his book show. They imagine a future where each home powers not only itself, but the cars surrounding it. They do this with no fumes, no soot and no emissions, from a fuel source that will never run out or jump in price.

The book’s contributors show this future is possible now, Hrivnak said. “We hope that by showing a compelling vision for the future, we can inspire others to begin their own sustainable journey.”

Describe the book.

The book highlights 15 households from across the U.S. and Canada. It features a variety of living scenarios, including those with 700 to 10,000 square-foot homes, bicycle commuters to electric vehicle evangelists, extensive remodels to new construction using the latest technology, and meat eaters to vegans.

Some stories feature full families, and others are empty nesters or couples just starting out, but all have managed to make drastic cuts in their energy emissions of at least 75 percent or more, with several going carbon negative.

Where can it be purchased?

The book is sold locally at I Love Books in the Fort Henry Mall and at Mr. K's Used Books, Music & More in Johnson City. It is also available on Amazon in both print and electronic versions.

What’s next?

Hrivnak will hold a book signing Sunday at I Love Books in the Fort Henry Mall.

As for writing another book, Hrivnak’s wife, Brenda, says, “No!” But Hrivnak said he has learned a great deal about how he can take his sustainable living journey up several more levels. While his family has cut their emissions 85 percent below average, he said they now see ways to get to 100 percent.