ТОП 10:

Advantages of building underground


Houses can be built on steep surfaces and can maximize space in small areas by going below the ground. In addition the materials excavated in construction can be used in the building process.

Underground houses have less surface area so fewer building materials are used, and maintenance costs are lower. They are also wind, fire and earthquake resistant, providing a secure and safe environment in extreme weather.

One of the greatest benefits of underground living is energy efficiency. The earth's subsurface temperature remains stable, so underground dwellings benefit from geothermal mass and heat exchange, staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This saves around 80% in energy costs. By incorporating solar design this energy bill can be reduced to zero, providing hot water and heat to the home all year round. An additional benefit of the surrounding earth is noise insulation. Underground homes are exceptionally quiet places to live.

Finally, underground houses blend with the natural landscape, and have minimum impact on the local ecology. This is not only aesthetically pleasing but ensures that the maximum habitat is left alone for wildlife.


Look through the unit again and make notes under the following headings. Then use your notes to talk about sustainability and green building.


1. Sustainability and its application in architecture.

2. The main principles of green building.

3. Sustainable building design and materials.

4. Examples of an interesting building design.

5. Possible benefits of living in such houses.

6. Underground construction.


Extra activities

Do this questionnaire to find out how green you are. Make use of the list of unknown words at the end of it. Then discuss the results in class.


"Going green" has become as mainstream as baseball and apple pie, and Earth Day has morphed from an also-ran government holiday to a full-fledged international celebration of all things eco-friendly. Are you on the green bandwagon, or still wondering how to take part? Who do you think is making a difference, and whose lifestyle annoys you?


1. Which celebrity is doing the most to save the world?

a) Brad Pitt - The King of Abs and Eco-Building

b) Leonardo DiCaprio - The King of Environmental Movie Stars

c) Angelina Jolie – a mother for every child

d) Heather Mills – go vegan or go home!

e) Oprah – the Expert of Everything


2. Who is the least green celebrity?

a) Chris Brown – he’ll buy new clothes before he’ll do laundry

b) John Travolta – responsible for 800 tons of carbon emissions per year just from his private jet trips

c) Jennifer Aniston – does yoga, but shills SmartWater in plastic bottles

d) Mariah Carey – flies her trainer to NYC from St. Barts every day

e) Madonna – voted PETA’s most evil fur wearer


3. What's the easiest thing to do in going green?

a) Recycle and compost

b) Bring reuseable shopping bags to the store

c) Switch to CFL bulbs

d) Unplug electronics when you’re not using them

e) Go vegetarian one day a week


4. What's the hardest part about going green?

a) Walking or biking instead of using the car

b) Spending more money for organic food

c) Giving up bottled water

d) Using recycled toilet paper

e) Avoiding wearing fur-coats


5. On a scale of 1 to 5, how green are you?

a) 1 - Not at all

b) 2 - I do a little when a can

c) 3 - It's important to me

d) 4 - Being green is a huge part of my life

e) 5 - I consider the planet's health in every decision I make


6. What's your number one green priority?

a) Wildlife conservation

b) Reducing pollution

c) Managing over-population

d) Developing alternative energy

f) Ending world hunger


7. What’s at the top of your eco-wishlist?

a) Hybrid car

b) Energy efficient appliances

c) Bamboo flooring and recycled carpeting

d) Solar panels

e) Organic clothing


8. What do you think is the most pressing environmental issue?

a) Climate Change

b) Preserving the rainforests

c) Protecting endangered animals

d) Running out of oil

e) Saving the honeybees


PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

to shill – to advertise something by actively using it

vegan - a person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing, or any other purpose

also-ran - an unsuccessful person; a loser

fledged – grown up

to morph – to transform

mainstream – the main current, the majority

to be on the bandwagon - to join or give support to a party or movement that seems to be assured of success


Time for fun

Read the following jokes.

Builder in Hell

A builder dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah sorry, you're in the wrong place." So the builder reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the builder gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts making improvements. After a while, they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the builder is a pretty popular guy. One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says, "So, how's it going down there in hell?" Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this builder is going to come up with next." God replies, "What??? You've got a builder? That's a mistake! He should never have gotten down there; send him up here." Satan says, "No way. I like having a builder on the staff, and I'm keeping him." God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue." Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"
Construction Engineers and Lawyers
There are two big conferences in NY, one for construction engineers and one for lawyers. They are both being held in the same building downtown. On the first day of the conference, two groups run into each other at the train station and chat while waiting in line to buy tickets into the city. When they reach the counter, the three lawyers each buy tickets and watch as the three Engineers buy only a single ticket. "How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" asks a lawyer. "Watch and you'll see," answers an Engineer. They all board the train. The lawyers take their respective seats, but all three Engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, "Ticket, please." The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on. The lawyers see this and agree it is quite a clever idea. After the conference, the lawyers ( recognizing the engineers' superior intellect ) decide to copy the construction engineers on the return trip and save some money. When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the construction engineers don't buy a ticket at all. "How are you going to travel without a ticket?" says one perplexed lawyer. "Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer. When they board the train the three lawyers cram into a restroom and the three construction engineers cram into another one nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the construction engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the lawyers are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, "Ticket, please."  
The Guilliotine In some foreign country a priest, a lawyer and a construction engineer are about to be guillotined. The priest puts his head on the block, they pull the rope and nothing happens -- he declares that he's been saved by divine intervention -- so he's let go. The lawyer is put on the block, and again the rope doesn't release the blade, he claims he can't be executed twice for the same crime and he is set free too. They grab the construction engineer and shove his head into the guillotine, he looks up at the release mechanism and says, "Wait a minute, I see your problem......"



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