As summer approaches, I do not look forward to seeing many local businesses leaving their entrance doors propped wide open all day in 95 degree heat.  This is done in some misguided attempt to draw in traffic.  When I was growing up, it was called “trying to air condition the outdoors,” and deemed very wasteful by my parents.

The New York Sun reported one interesting approach a while back, in which the NY City council considered fining local businesses for this practice, based upon their information from the local power company that

by leaving doors open, retail shops waste as much as 20% to 25% of the electricity they consume.

I’m not sure whether this legislation got passed. Meantime, I’ve had many a conversation with store managers about why they leave doors open in summer. Needless to say, their explanations fall short, and mostly reflect ignorance, lack of good sense, failure to exercise responsibility, or some combination of the three.

What we can do about this practice, if anything? Maybe we just need to chalk it up and use it as a bellwether: if we see the practice disappear, we can figure that conservation efforts are working. One cannot legally picket at a privately owned mall, I suppose, where a lot of this occurs, at least near me. Legislation is considered onerous by some, but it should be easy to enforce, and attempting to pass a local ordinance would be good publicity for the conservation cause.


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