18 March 2008

Copper...they don't steal that!?

il rame

A walk down any street in Ascoli Piceno and you will see copper downspouts at street level. The standard for roof gutters and their drain lines in Italy is copper. This metal is also used for exposed electrical housing; copper pipes connected to light fixtures mounted on a stone wall.

Both of these are something you would not see in the US but for different reasons. Copper is a valuable commodity in the US and a downspout at street level is a good prospect to be stolen. I have read stories and know personal accounts of the problems with metals such as copper being stolen from construction sites and even catalytic converters being stolen off new cars on dealer’s lots.

Copper conduits for electrical fixtures in the US are a code and safety issue. Since copper is such a great conductor of electricity it is a big “no-no” to use to carry wiring. Here in Italy it seems to be the chic way to install lighting.

I recently saw an article on Reuters that said over the past 12 months the price of copper in the US has gone from $.70 per pound to $3.50 per pound. This is being driven by the high demand for copper in China and India.

1 comment:

erin said...

interesting! You're right about the US though, b/c working in real estate, we'd always have issues with inspections of new construction housing b/c the ac units and other things like that couldn't be installed until the day people moved in for fear of copper being stolen from the pieces if the house was vacant.