It’s an old trick and it works. Some stores leave their doors open on purpose on cold or hot days with the air conditioning running full blast in order to attract shoppers. If you’re sweating in the blazing sun and walk past a store front that’s pouring out air as cold as the Arctic, it certainly grabs your attention.
Air conditioning is a major energy and water sucker. It’s something we’ve come to take as being a right rather than a privilege. Air conditioning has allowed us to settle in places where it may have been impossible to previously due to local weather conditions; but it has really been abused.
According to this article, New York’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, resisted the proposal of a bill that stores be penalized $US200 for each door or window they leave purposely leave open. The bill sounded like a really good idea to me.
While air conditioning is certainly necessary at times, it’s often a luxury that’s taken for granted. Instead of piling a few more clothes on or pulling a few off; we tend to reach for the thermostat. The article linked to above also states that some members of the Bush Administration seriously recommended air-conditioning to deal with the effects of climate change. Sheesh.
I’m a bit of a cry-baby when it comes to the cold, tempted to switch on the heat as soon as temperatures start dropping, but recently I started resisting the urge and found I began to acclimatise. For example, this morning was only 6 degrees celcius and it felt warm compared to the sub-zero temperatures we’ve had lately. Last year I got through an entire winter without heating in my office, which saved many thousands of kilowatts in electricity.. and it really wasn’t all that bad. Maybe that was a bit extreme, but I just wanted to see if it was possible and if I could still function :).
In this age of critical resource scarcity we really do need to toughen up just a little bit; it’s not only good for the planet but good for our wallets; you can save a ton of cash by consuming less! As for the stores that waste tens of thousands of kilowatts with their trick to attract shoppers; maybe a quiet word to their management about good environmental stewardship wouldn’t go astray; let them know you’re one shopper who is repulsed by the strategy. If nobody says anything, nothing will change.