Cities Frown Upon Air Conditioned Sidewalks

As the Summer months heat up, Sarah Laskow reports on cities' efforts to keep retailers' doors closed.
June 3, 2012, 7am PDT | jerinbrent
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The lure of cool air wafting through an open set of doors is a strategy retailers will have to forego in many cities this Summer. Toronto and Seoul have asked nicely, with voluntary "Doors Closed" campaigns and positive reinforcement. New York City, on the other hand, passed a city council ordinance in 2008 that imposes fines on stores that leave their doors open while blasting the AC. Ignoring the ordinance can cost business owners $200 for the first offense, $400 for repeat offenses. Enforcement has been weak, however, with only 25 citations going out over the last 4 years.

Cooling sidewalks can increase the amount of energy stores use by 25%. Laskow points out that many of the offending stores are large chain retailers who have made it company policy to leave the doors open and the air up. In Laskow's estimateion, "if these large companies instructed their retail outlets around the world to turn down the air and keep the doors closed, they could singlehandedly cut tons of energy the world wastes every year."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

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Published on Friday, June 1, 2012 in GOOD Magazine
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