Gold canopy replacement could cost $15M to $20M to install
A new bed made from recycled materials is a new way to save the cost of installing new fabric canopy for a home in rural Tennessee, but the state is struggling to find a manufacturer willing to produce it.
The state is using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fabric Outlet Manufacturing Program to buy fabric for use in new beds, but some rural residents are worried about the long-term health risks of the material.
“I’ve heard the same stories about the potential for the materials to be toxic, and I’ve also heard the health risks,” said Bob McDonough, a retiree from Boone, Tennessee, who has been living with a canopy since the early 1990s.
McDonough said he is averse to the material because he believes it will be a burden to repair his home’s canopy.
“I would rather pay the cost for fabric and I would rather have that product to go to a place where I can have a roof over my head, where I’m comfortable, and the canopy is there,” he said.
But a federal grant for fabric replacement from the Agriculture Department could cost tens of millions of dollars, said Matthew Clements, a product manager for the USDA’s Fabric and Fabrication Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Some farmers and designers who work in fabric fabrication, such as the American Home Furniture Company, have been making the new canopy in South Carolina since the mid-1990s.
But the federal grant is designed to help small businesses, not big companies, with new products, Clements said.
“If you have a large manufacturer, you have to make sure that you get the right materials,” he added.
“It’s not going to be affordable for anyone.
Clements added that some farmers and architects have been working with the state to secure the materials for a new canopy for decades.
But many in rural America don’t have the financial means to buy the fabric, and a new bed could cost a significant amount to manufacture, McDonoh said.”
If you look at the average price of a new product from a manufacturer, it is $150,000, and that’s only for one bed,” he explained.
In many parts of the country, the average cost of fabric is $500,000.
But fabric is not always readily available, and some rural areas in the South are more expensive to reach.”
In a lot of places, you can’t get it from a supplier, and they are often in a tough economic spot,” McDonoysaid.
And, as the supply of new fabric grows, so does the cost to build the new bed.
A federal survey released last year by the U-S.
Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the average manufacturing cost for new fabrics in the United States in 2015 was $4,200 per cubic foot, or $1,300 per square foot.
As the price of fabric grows and consumers continue to use cheaper materials, the government may have to find more affordable materials to replace the material, said Clements.”
In some places, there are concerns about the health of the materials used in the production of the fabric.”