Lesson 104 – Earth Ships – Phrasal verbs

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IN YOUR LANGUAGE (Top right > Select language > Click on the flags).





  • It began to take shape
  • The founder of
  • Indigenous to
  • Recycled materials
  • Sustainable architecture
  • Homes would rely on
  • Natural energy sources
  • Constructed of earth filled tires
  • To provide thermal mass cooling
  • Interior walls
  • Honeycomb
  • The three systems of water, electricity, and climate
  • Harvesting rain, snow, and condensation
  • It filtered from
  • It can be used for flushing toilets
  • A septic tank
  • Ending its cycle
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Wind turbines
  • To generate DC energy
  • Stored in
  • Deep-cycle batteries
  • A Power Organizing Module
  • Stored energy
  • Invert it for AC use
  • Household appliance
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Thermal mass
  • Optimum solar exposure
  • Skylight
  • A steady airflow
  • It embodies
  • Sustainable construction
  • Credentials
  • Low impact materials
  • Renewable materials
  • Passive solar design
  • Fossil fuel consumption
  • Day-to-day running
  • Generation of power
  • Mains connection
  • To treat waste water
  • Fulfilling moral, ecological and sustainable needs
  • To be a burden
  • To get a mortgage
  • To get insurance
  • Handy with tools
  • Self-funding
  • To put many people off
  • Geothermal heat
  • Self-sustainability
  • Impact on the environment
  • Ease of construction
  • Landfill
  • In abundance
  • Cost savings
  • The cost of the land
  • Manual labour
  • Craftsmanship-challenged
  • Wall surfaces
  • Moulds/ Molds and algae
  • Harvesting mechanisms are loud
  • Building codes
  • Cash on hand
  • Owner builder




– Earth Ships  –



Lesson 104 – Earth Ships

Earthships are a concept that began to take shape in the 1970s. The founder of Earthship Biotecture, Michael Reynolds, wanted to create a home that would have minimal impact on the environment. Using material indigenous to the local area and recycled materials, Reynolds was able to design sustainable architecture. The homes would rely on natural energy sources, making its own water, heat and cooling, and be independent from the “grid”. Exterior walls are constructed of earth filled tires to provide thermal mass cooling and heating, and interior walls are constructed of a honeycomb of empty cans and glass bottles. In order to be entirely self-sufficient, the Earthship needs to be able to handle the three systems of water, electricity, and climate.


Earthships are designed to catch and use water from the local environment by harvesting rain, snow, and condensation. Greywater is used water that is unsuitable for drinking, filtered from sinks and showers, the water can be used for flushing toilets. This then becomes known as Blackwater and is directed to a septic tank ending its cycle of reuse.


The majority of electrical energy for the earthship is harvested from the sun and wind. Photovoltaic panels and wind turbines located on or near the Earthship generate DC energy that is then stored in several types of deep-cycle batteries. A Power Organizing Module is then used to take stored energy from batteries and invert it for AC use. This energy can be used to run any household appliance including washing machines, computers, kitchen appliances, and vacuums.


Earthships are designed to use the properties of thermal mass and passive solar heating and cooling.  It is positioned so that its principal wall can allow for optimum solar exposure. Taking advantage of the sun in this way provides heating, ventilation, and lighting. It’s natural ventilation system functions by allowing cold air to travel through the Earthship. Accessing through a front window the air flows through a skylight carrying the rising hot air with it. Thus creating a steady airflow of cool air coming in and warm air blowing out.


The Earthship concept embodies the five-core elements of sustainable construction to create a building with outstanding ‘green’ credentials.

The five core elements are:

  • Use of low impact materials in construction – using local, recycled, waste, natural and renewable materials
  • Passive solar design – enjoying the sun’s free energy for space heating
  • Renewable energy – zero fossil fuel consumption for day-to-day running with on-site generation of power for electricity and water heating
  • Rainwater harvesting – free water from the skies with no mains connection and subsequent groundwater depletion
  • Using plants to treat waste water – no sewage infrastructure with on-site ‘waste water’ treatment using plants and natural processes


For many, this design of building is perfect, fulfilling moral, ecological and sustainable needs though the cost of carrying out an Earthship project can be a burden. It is almost impossible to get a mortgage for an Earthship and near impossible to get insurance. For people who are handy with tools, the costs can be reduced greatly but they still require time and self funding that could put many people off.


Here are some of the Pros and Cons many have considered:




  • Energy efficiency: the buildings utilize solar and/or geothermal heat, cooling and hot water, and provide rain and greywater harvesting.
  • Self-sustainability: the growing of vegetables inside, reuse of water, and minimal impact on the environment.
  • Ease of construction: Technically the Earthship is a simple design that anyone can follow.
  • Recycling: utilising used products that can be found in landfill can be used to construct the house.  
  • Natural light: The necessity for access to the sun for heating and growing means that these buildings have it in abundance.


  • There is no cost savings in designing and building an earthship over a conventional home. There is still the cost of the land and the costs of manual labour and materials which can go up depending on how craftsmanship-challenged you may be.
  • In a humid environment, earthships collect water along their interior wall surfaces, allowing molds and algaes to grow.
  • The pumps to run the greywater and rainwater harvesting mechanisms are loud.
  • Earthships are considered « experimental architecture » and building codes are not designed for experiments.
  • You will have to have cash on hand for the build.


Earthships are in use in almost every state in the United States and Canada, as well as many European countries including Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Estonia and Czech Republic, and are continually being built around the world. This owner builder approach together with the use of inexpensive materials has inspired people worldwide to build their own passive solar homes.




Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1: 

Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2: 

Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 




Separable phrasal verbs are transitive (they can take a direct object), and the direct object can separate the verb and the adverb (or preposition).


They looked up the word in the dictionary.

They looked the word up in the dictionary.


If the direct object is a pronoun, it is also placed between the verb and the preposition or adverb.


They looked it up in the dictionary.


  • BACK UP (to support)


He always backs up his team.

He always backs them up.

  • BLOW OUT (to extinguish)


He blew out the candles.

He blew them out.

  • BLOW UP (to destroy with explosives)


The bank robbers blew up the safe.

The bank robbers blew it up.

  • BREAK UP (to dismantle or to terminate a relationship)


She decided to break up with him.

She decided to break it up him.

  • BREAK OFF (to break or interrupt)


They broke off their friendship because of the scandal.

They broke their friendship off because of the scandal.

  • BRING UP (to raise children, (to raise a subject)


The parents decided to bring up their children abroad.

The parents decided to bring them up abroad.

  • CARRY OUT (to do)


They carried out her request.

They carried it out.

  • CLEAR UP (to organize, to clean)


Don’t forget to clear up this mess!

Don’t forget to clear it up!

  • CUT OFF (to cut someone’s hair)


I had to cut off my ponytail.

I had to cut it off.

  • FILL IN (to complete)


Could you fill up the tank with diesel, please?

Could you fill it up with diesel, please?

  • FIND OUT (to discover)


I am worried he will find out her secret.

I am worried he will find it out.

  • FIX UP (to organize, to tidy, to repair)


Have you fixed up the car?

Have you fixed it up?

  • GET BACK (to recuperate)


He will never get back that information.

He will never get it back.

  • GIVE BACK (to return)


I have to give back the keys.

I have to give them back.

  • GIVE UP (to abandon, to cease making an effort)


He is trying to give up smoking.

He is trying to give it up.

  • HAND IN (to deliver, to give)


We have to hand in the essay by Monday.

We have to hand it in by Monday.

  • HOLD UP (to make someone late)


We got held up in traffic.

The traffic held us up for two hours!




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