Refurbishing old buildings reduces emissions – but outdated tax rates make it expensive

Walter Menteth

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The construction of new buildings in the UK emits 48 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) each year – that’s equal to the net emissions of the entire country of Scotland. The materials, transportation and construction processes for new buildings are all carbon intensive. Existing buildings already embody significant CO₂ emissions, which makes it all the more important to upgrade and refurbish – rather than demolish and rebuild – wherever possible. But as it stands, the UK’s tax system actually puts a significant financial penalty on refurbishment, while incentivising new construction – but there's a very easy fix to reverse this.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019


  • procurement
  • taxation
  • tax
  • VAT
  • construction
  • architecture
  • refurbishment
  • circular economy


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  • VAT Reforms

    Walter Menteth


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