With the start of summer, clean energy nonprofit Generation 180 is launching a Change.org petition urging retailers across the country to close their doors to wasting energy. During hot summer months, some stores run their air conditioning and prop open their doors to attract customers, allowing cold air to pour onto the sidewalk. Each store with an open door uses about 4,000 kilowatt hours of electricity over the summer. This translates into two tons of carbon dioxide—the same amount of pollution produced by a diesel truck driving from New York to Miami.
“We need to teach stores that propping their doors open is just like leaving your refrigerator wide open at home,” says Nate McFarland, director of communications at Generation 180. “Our petition mobilizes consumers to voice their concerns to retailers. … This gives retailers the opportunity to do the right thing and showcase their green values, making it good for business, the community, and the environment.”
Millennials are onboard
Generation 180’s petition asks the National Retail Federation to tell its members to adopt closed-door policies. The initiative isn’t without support: Generation 180 surveyed 1,000 millennials, finding that 62% think propping open doors is wasteful. In fact, 25% say they are less likely to shop at stores that leave their doors open with the air conditioning running.
Keep It Cool
Generation 180 is also empowering consumers to take this message to Main Streets across America and encourage their local retailers to close their doors to stop wasting energy. The nonprofit has created a Keep It Cool campaign that enables consumers to anonymously recognize shops that “Keep It Cool” with closed doors and reach out to educate retailers who are allowing energy to escape through their open doors. To participate, members of the public take notice of storefront doors and use their phone to send a pinned location to Generation 180 via Facebook Messenger, noting whether stores have their doors open or closed while running the air conditioning. A national map tracks all of the stores that are identified.
Cities are also starting to promote closed doors. The City of Santa Cruz, California, has partnered with Generation 180 to conduct a city-wide Keep It Cool initiative this summer.
“Our local environmental advocate partners were interested in creating a local ordinance requiring stores to keep their doors closed while running heat or air conditioning but there are practical challenges to enforcing such an ordinance. The Generation 180 campaign offered a turn-key voluntary program for retailers to participate in and receive promotion for their commitment, similar to the City’s successful voluntary Green Business Program,” says Dr. Tiffany Wise-West, sustainability and climate action manager for the city. “The Keep It Cool campaign enables our environmental advocate partner volunteers to educate local retailers about closing their doors and recognizes their behavior on the campaign map. We believe that this positive encouragement will be more effective than adding another law to the books.”
“The success of our retailer petition and Keep It Cool depends on consumers getting into action and sharing with their friends and social networks,” says Susan Klees, campaign director. “We encourage everyone who cares about the environment to sign our petition and join in our effort this summer – it is an easy and fun way to make a difference and breathe easier in your own community.”
For more details on the initiative, visit keepitcool.org.