Business Sustainability

Sierra Club Presentation on Net Zero Living

David Hrivnak. Photo by Erica Yoon

On Thursday, February 7, the Sierra Club of Western North Carolina (WENOCA) will host Driving to Net Zero, a presentation by energy engineer Dave Hrivnak. Driving to Net Zero will explore the future of fuel and how households can power not only themselves but their cars and other electronics without fumes, soot or emissions. The talk will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 7 p.m.

Hrivnak was inspired by a trip to Clingman’s Dome in the early 1980s, when he saw mostly dead trees on the peak. “This clearly showed the often hidden downside of our emissions,” he says. “So I made a pledge to myself that I would be part of the solution and not part of the problem. We built our first passive solar, earth-bermed home shortly after that trip.”

Hrivnak, who has a BS in engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from East Tennessee State University, has designed and built two passive solar homes, both of which have been featured on the National Solar Tour of Homes. He has also built an all-electric Jeep and Miata, and modified his Prius and Chevy Avalanche to make them plugin hybrid cars. He and his wife, Brenda, now power their home and vehicles from rooftop solar. “One of the benefits of net zero living is that we become more resilient,” Hrivnak says. “Even if the power is out, I can run my refrigerator and charge a car for several miles each day from our solar array. This technology also keeps our money local as we no longer need to spend $200 to $400 a month for power and gasoline. That is money that can stay in our communities and in our pockets.”

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation is located at 1 Edwin Place in Asheville. For more information, visit

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