The US has begun building low-end home and office fences, with some homeowners opting to weld the wire fences to existing fencing instead of putting the wires in place themselves.
In the past two years, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filings show, about 20,000 residential and commercial buildings have been ordered to remove the wire, or replace it with a new, more durable barrier, or even completely tear it down.
The new, cheaper barrier is typically made of “super lightweight, galvanized wire mesh that has the advantage of being able to withstand high temperatures and strong winds,” according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The DHS also reports that the new barrier, if used correctly, can save a house or business up to $30,000 per year in energy use.
But many homeowners are opting to use low-cost, high-strength wire fencing instead, rather than replacing the existing wire fence with a fence made of high-end mesh, said John Eppenheimer, director of the Urban and Regional Policy Program at the Manhattan Institute, an independent think tank.
“If you’re in an urban area, you want to make sure you have adequate and high-quality high-tech technology,” Eppensheimer told The Jerusalem Times.
“You don’t want to be building fences that will fail, and you don’t have the infrastructure to make the necessary adjustments when they do.”
Eppensheim added that most Americans, including the majority of the urban population, don’t think about how much energy they consume while living in their homes.
In a report released this month, the Institute for Energy Research (IER), a Washington think tank, found that, for every dollar invested in energy efficiency in homes, $1.40 in energy was saved by the average American.
But the report did not offer any numbers for how much the average homeowner actually saved, or how much of that savings could be attributed to the new wire barrier.
Eppenheim, however, said he believes that the fence could be an important component of the energy efficiency gains of low-rise home and business projects, particularly in cities with a growing number of people living in the urban core.
“It is a real win-win situation for homeowners and businesses,” Epps said.
“The barrier is a huge economic and social win.”‘
If the fence is made of wire mesh, we’re losing money’Since the barrier is less expensive, it may not be an economic benefit for consumers and businesses.
But it is also possible that the barrier could be a benefit to the homeowners who opt to put the wire fence in place, Epps added.
“They’re saving money because they’re getting more energy efficient, and there’s a good chance that the cost of the barrier will come down over time,” he said.
Epps pointed out that low-priced home and commercial building insulation is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners, and the barrier would reduce the energy consumption of the building by removing the cost barriers that would otherwise exist.
“In the long run, the barrier saves energy by reducing the amount of energy used,” he told The Times.
“If the barrier can be made of more lightweight, high tech, durable, non-flammable wire mesh rather than high-grade aluminum, then it is a win-winnable deal for consumers.”
Epps also noted that the current barrier design, which has been around for decades, is not suitable for residential use.
“I don’t see a lot of value in building a fence that’s going to be a disaster and will fail at some point,” he noted.
“And if it’s a disaster, then you’re going to have to replace it, which you’re not going to do for the foreseeable future.”