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– 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:
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:
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:
THE SEPARABLE PHRASAL VERBS
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