As society attempts to recover from the disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic, rising prices are something to be expected across all walks of life. The energy sector is no different, with gas and electric prices rising for 11 million households in the UK this year. With over 2 million households now behind on their energy bills (a rise of 600,000 since the pandemic), energy-saving measures are more important than ever.
Is There a Way to Save on Energy Bills?
The most effective energy-saving measure is of course to prevent energy lost as waste. Why pay for heat that doesn’t even stay inside your house? One of the biggest culprits of energy loss in the home is the wrong flooring. In fact, on average, 10% of the heat generated by your boiler will escape through the floor.
Many older houses have suspended timber floors, which aren’t effective at retaining heat. Gaps between the floorboards and maybe even in the wood itself allow heat to escape. Furthermore, timber will naturally deteriorate over time, as well as being susceptible to rot, damp and vermin, all of which can compromise the integrity of the wood. This effectively means that its energy-saving potential, already less than adequate, will only lessen over time, equating to even steeper amounts of waste.
The Best Choice of Flooring
It is due to these factors (as well as others) that most homebuilders nowadays opt to build using concrete flooring. Concrete, of course, is a more solid material than timber, immediately reducing heat loss. But the greatest benefits of concrete flooring come over time. Concrete, unlike wood, doesn’t bend, warp, melt or collapse, and is resistant to rot, dampness, vermin, frost and fire; this makes concrete floors the superior long-term choice, not only because concrete floors generally last far longer than timber and don’t deteriorate, but also because they require minimal maintenance, making them more cost-effective in the long run too.
Another money-saving benefit of concrete floors is the ease of their installation, which is an important consideration if you’re building your own house. Concrete provides a safe, solid working surface, making its construction easy and potentially reducing time and thus labour costs. For the same reason, it also allows follow-on trades to get involved sooner, cutting days off the overall project length.
Variations of Concrete Flooring
Certain types of concrete flooring, for example, beam and block, reduce construction time and costs even further. Beam and block is a completely dry method, meaning that the ground will require little to no preparation, and also that the build won’t be affected by bad weather. Beams are also pre-cut, allowing for much simpler assembly – in fact, if you’re building your own home, it is possible to lay beam and block floor yourself, especially with many companies offering designs and ground plans in addition to the actual materials.
Another interesting and somewhat bold option to consider when designing a new home is to leave a concrete floor exposed, rather than covering it with wood or carpet. The basis of this idea is due to concrete’s thermal mass. What this means is that, if, in direct sunlight, concrete will absorb heat energy and release it slowly over time, even in winter, potentially negating the need for excess heating.
As the old saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine. When building a house from scratch, you’ll no doubt be looking to erect a building that behaves as intended and saves you as much money as possible in the long term as well as the short term, without having to sacrifice quality or safety. To this end, concrete floors should be the foundation (pardon the pun) of your project, as they provide numerous cost-saving benefits over time in comparison to the alternatives, one of which is by providing you with a far more energy-efficient property for many years to come.