Including a polished concrete floor in a building is an environmentally friendly decision. Some people have criticized concrete recently, citing negative impacts on the environment. This impact is largely the result of concrete being such a versatile and useful material. The scale at which we produce concrete can seem overwhelming. It is the cornerstone of homes, airports, skyscrapers tunnels, dams and almost every other infrastructure project. When looking at the scale of global concrete production it is clear that large amounts of CO2 are released in the manufacturing process.
Reducing Material and Transport
It may seem odd to claim that a polished concrete floor has a positive environmental impact. However, even those advocating for a reduction in concrete use will usually agree that there is no substitute for concrete as a foundation. While we can replace walls with SIPs and use environmentally friendly cladding and roofing options, there is no realistic substitute for concrete at ground level. By polishing existing concrete, we can negate the requirement for additional resources.
Unlike other flooring options, such as epoxy or tiles, polished concrete does not require any further material to be added to the project. It is a structural aspect of the building which performs a necessary task. By polishing the floor there is need for VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to be introduced. Nor is there any requirement for additional CO2 emissions from the production of new flooring materials. This extends to the reduced need for transport and packaging.
Energy Efficiency and Life Span
Concrete is also a highly efficient thermal mass; it can store a large amount of heat. Polished concrete will store heat when exposed to direct sunlight. This effect is more noticeable in a south facing room. With energy efficient underfloor heating, a polished concrete floor can effectively release the heat generated. Adding any other flooring to the concrete will act as a barrier and make the heating less efficient.
The other major benefit of polished concrete is its longevity, which is certainly unsurpassed in modern flooring methods. Other flooring options will break down and need to be replaced, while a concrete floor can last for the lifetime of the building.
There is a growing awareness of the need for greater sustainability in construction. We should all take this seriously and look for solutions which balance the demands of the building and its inhabitants with the need for low environmental impact. Polished concrete offers:
- No additional natural resources
- High thermal mass
- Extremely high life-span
- Light reflective surface can reduce the need for artificial lighting
- Improved interior air quality, due to no retention of mould or dust mites
- No VOCs
If you are interested in having a concrete floor polished, please contact us, so we can help to make the right decisions for your project.