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Walk down the street on a summer day in New York City (and other cities, I am sure) and you run a high risk of being assaulted.  Not by muggers.  By frigid air blasting out of stores.  These stores think that opening the door and letting the cold air blast out "welcomes customers".  I think it helps destroy the planet, costs the stores money, and increases the risk of a blackout.

More below the fold

Say what you will about the MSM, but the NY Times' Clyde Haberman is taking the lead on this issue.  He's written several columns on this, and they seem to touch a nerve.  Here is one.  

When Shops Keep Doors Agape, Think of Cold Air at $140 a Barrel

Published: June 17, 2008

Not for the first time, Jo Gangemi felt anger well up as she passed a clothing store on Prince Street the other day. There this shop was, with its air-conditioning on high and its front doors wide open, the cold pouring wastefully, senselessly — outrageously — onto the sidewalk. Like so many other stores on blisteringly hot days.

in New York City, my councilperson (Gale Brewer) has sponsored a bill to make this a crime, punishable by a fine.  Mayor Bloomberg, however, is opposed:

Legislation sponsored by Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer of Manhattan would end this practice and fine violators $200 for each open door or window. Unless the law forces them, Ms. Brewer says, the stores will not do what common sense says is the right thing. Her bill has gone nowhere, however, in part because it lacks support from the Bloomberg administration, which despite its own ample "green" talk has shown scant interest in telling businesses what to do.

Instead, it prefers a voluntary approach, relying on what one administration official has called an "educational campaign."

Either it needs to be a better teacher or a lot of businesses have learning disabilities. The open-door policy is thriving. A stroll through town on Saturday, when temperatures neared 90 degrees, made that clear.

In an earlier article (from 2006), Haberman notes that this practice also increases the risk of blackouts:

"A lot of the approaches to date have been on the carrot side," said Gil C. Quiniones, a senior vice president of the city's Economic Development Corporation and chairman of the mayor's Energy Policy Task Force. The carrot takes the form of cash payments and other incentives to businesses that improve energy efficiency.

But make no mistake, Mr. Quiniones said: On "the hottest of the hottest days," when Con Edison's power plants are firing on all engines, it doesn't take much to jeopardize reliable energy distribution to all neighborhoods. The waste created by all those open restaurant and store doors can really hurt.

"Trust me, it's not a little thing," he said. "It's a big thing."

He may consider himself trusted.

(note that since this is two articles, I think it is OK to quote this much; I've also been in contact with Mr. Haberman, and he encouraged me to write).

What can we do?

If you're good at being politely aggressive, you can go into the stores and ask about it.  This may be particularly effective in stores that are not part of big chains, since they probably set policy at the store.  We can write letters, both LTEs and letters to store management.  Mr. Haberman reports that he has gotten a lot of mail on this subject, with the vast majority opposed to open doors.  We can make lists of the stores that do this.  Here are some:

Steve Madden; 1-888-SMADDEN
H & M 212 564 9922
Foot Locker 800 991 6815
Jamba Juice  866 4RFRUIT
Aerosoles 800 798 9478 (e-mail link on website)
Lane Bryant
Ann Taylor Loft 800 DIAL ANN
Aldo Shoes 888 818 2536
Uniqlo 877 4 UNIQLO

I haven't contacted these places yet; for one thing, the only one I ever go to is Jamba Juice; I tried Jamba Juice's e-mail, and my mail bounced.  I tried their phone and it said it was unavailable in my calling area.  Go figure.  But I will be calling and writing, and I hope you  will too.  

In the comments, add other stores that have opened the door to waste, or give ideas for stopping this practice

Originally posted to plf515 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 07:48 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I get your point but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wondering if

    It's their money to spend.  It's a bit like lecturing the 250 pound glutton behind the wheel of a shiny black hummer on his cell phone.

    It's a noble cause to want him to pay attention to his driving, get something a little more fuel efficient, and maybe have a salad occasionally...but really...

    ...don't you just go around him?

    •  It's their money, but it's our planet (8+ / 0-)

      The fuel they use to throw that cold air onto the street helps pollute the planet, and also raises the price of fuel for all of us.

      •  "It's My Planet Dude..." (0+ / 0-)

        "...come down out of that Hummer, shut it off ... and drive this!"


        It just doesn't work as an effective argument.

      •  problem is that such laws (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Demena, bryfry

        tend to support neocon objectives by creating police to investigate every facet of what people do.  Air conditioner police going door-to-door to make sure the thermostat is not set too low, every door and window is closed. Bathroom police to ticket you if you leave the sink running while lathering (oh, but then we need energy wasting electric eyes to turn the water on when you stick your soapy hands under the faucet).  Singapore's chewing gum laws.

        Let ConEd implement demand based rates, signal power users when rates will be going up because of high demand, going down because of excess capacity. The power rate box at the business could be user programmable to set off an alarm when the rates went over a threshold, so the store manager could clutch his heart and then rush about closing doors and setting AC temperatures higher.

        We don't need more laws, there's far too many already.  What we need is better social values, a public that react to wasting things by complaining to the waster, by not wasting in the first place. Laws breed corruption and injustice, and far too oft are a way for a minority in control to beat the populace over the head to fit to the minority's standards.  Good social standards don't have the bureaucratic overhead and are flexible enough to handle justified exceptions.

        •  Police could check doors on stores (0+ / 0-)

          while walking around.

          I said nothing about residences.

        •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

          Also what is overlooked is basic common sense.

          If this one store, "pouring wastefully, senselessly, outrageously [the `cold'] onto the sidewalk" (of course, thermodynamically, it exactly in the opposite that occurs), has, say, 25 people in it, is it really more wasteful than these 25 people each being at home in their separate air-conditioned houses?

          So what is next? Should we have the police "check doors" on everyone's house?

          If we applied the same standard to servers on the Internet that the diarist wants to apply to air-conditioning in stores, then the need to eliminate wasteful excess would shut down DailyKos. After all, I could easily argue that the vast majority of comments on this website are wastefully, senselessly, and outrageously off topic and are of little value. Yet we don't blink twice as this waste is poured indiscriminately out into the Internet. We don't worry about the energy that was wasted hosting this garbage and reading this garbage.

          Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
          -- George Eliot

          by bryfry on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:07:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Anyone who talks on a cell while driving (2+ / 0-)

      should have his/her license suspended.

      Driving is not a right, it's a privilege.

    •  A 'bloke' in my street (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      proudprogressiveCA, plf515

      just bought a hummer.

      People don't talk to him anymore.  People laugh in his face.  Even his wife holds him in distain.  Worst mistake he could have made.  I suppose I don't need to say he is not that bright.

      Your money may be yours to spend but when the consequences of that choice impact me and my offspring expect a reaction in proportion to the damage.

      No.  Having a resource does not mean it is yours to dispose of as you wish.

      The knowledge, art and production of humankind is the property of humankind.  The rest is carrots and sticks.

      Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

      by Demena on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 09:05:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  not entirely their money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the utility bills they get for this waste can be expensed against their bottom line (I should know, sole proprietor myself) and thus reduce their tax burden. The company pays less tax, and the wage earners and those who cannot expense their utility bills against their tax liability are stuck with a larger percentage of the tax burden.

      "Without our playstations, we are a third world nation"-Ani DiFranco

      by NoMoreLies on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:35:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  good points... (5+ / 0-)

    another peeve of mine is why keep these places so frackin cold?  It is uncomfortably cold for most humans that I know.  It is wasteful and stupid.  Leaving the door open, additionally, is just plain irresponsible.

  •  Creative ideas? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Walk around the neighborhood and tell managers of such stores that there's a blackout risk today and everyone has been warned to reduce energy use.

    Post flyers with list of offenders.
    Energy Hogs. Polluters.

    Republicans don't believe in legislation for the public good if it touches the sacred rights of business to dump on the public.

    If the mayor wants voluntary compliance, why not give tax benefits or prizes to stores that use the minimum amount of energy? Surely it wouldn't be too hard to establish guidelines.

    Thanks for your excellent diaries.

    P.S. Too hot for jammie blogging; I'm blogging in underwear with the fan on.

    Best Diary of the Year?

    by LNK on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 09:44:41 AM PDT

  •  We can change the law (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, plf515

    First of all, a story.

    Sephora, a business on 76th & Broadway in Manhattan's upper west side, no longer props its door open.  That's because a friend of mine decided to complain about it.

    We can make the change, store by store, and we can effect change on a larger scale by changing the law.  (Notice I said "and," not "or" -- we can do both, and the pressure put on individual stores can help put pressure on legislators.

    Gale Brewer's bill in the New York City Council (Intro 264) has languished for years, as electricity prices have risen to the highest in the country (and will rise again), and blackouts occur somewhere in NYC every time we have a heat wave.  Clearly, something must be done.

    Fortunately, it's being done.  Her bill is now gaining traction, with four new cosponsors over the past month or so.  People are talking about it, on the blogs and even in the MSM.  This is how reform happens -- it takes a lot longer than the reformers would like, but if we don't give up, but keep pushing, eventually we can win.

    So let's keep pushing to keep those doors shut, in New York, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston -- anywhere there's hot weather.  Together, we can reduce costs, lower the chances of blackouts, and help save the planet.

  •  Gas Stations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that leave lights on under the canopies during the day should be in this category also

    Can you remember your parents saying do you live in a barn?

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