NYC To Retailers: Close The Door, Did You Grow Up In A Barn?

In New York City, if you have a store with more than 4,000 square feet of retail space, or if you own a chain of at least five stores in the city, you’re required by law to keep your cool air inside where it belongs. That means none of this leaving the door open so your cool air will “lure in overheated customers,” reports WNYC. A city councilwoman says she hopes to conduct surveys this week to catch any retailers skirting the law. An employee at French Connection in SoHo said that her store is concerned about the energy crisis, so they only open one door instead of two these days.

“Stores Running the AC? Then Shut the Door!” [WNYC.org]

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  1. gqcarrick says:

    Hate to see the electricity bills at these messed up places that keep the doors open.

  2. Charlie says:

    If I understand correctly, they’re forcing businesses to keep doors closed not for energy conservation but to keep customers from coming in for some cold air?

    Why don’t we block the smells from bakeries while we’re at it?

    • DanRydell says:

      You do not understand correctly. You’ve applied one side’s motivation to the other side.

      - Businesses leave their doors open to get people to come in to cool off
      - The government wants businesses to close their doors to conserve energy

      FTA:
      “The law only applies to stores larger than 4,000 square feet or chains that have at least five stores in the city. But Brewer, who sponsored the law last year, says all stores should care about conserving energy.

      “Even smaller stores — if they’re thinking about the environment and carbon footprints — should be closing their doors, in my opinion, when they have the air conditioning on,” says Brewer.”

    • GearheadGeek says:

      It only makes a difference for the customers who are too dumb to realize the air inside a store is cooler than NYC in the summertime. Of course, people that dumb probably also spend more than they should…

    • packcamera says:

      One has nothing to do with the other… bakery smells are a byproduct of the manufacturing process and is not the result of a waste energy policy as the open door AC tease is.

    • webweazel says:

      Or maybe ban the smells from the cheesesteak place in Phila that positioned the grill in the front of the shop, and the grill vent/fan shot out right above your head on the street. Grilled onions and hot cheesesteak scents luring you from up the block. Bastards…. (and marketing geniuses, evidently….)

  3. chuckv says:

    I don’t see the problem. If a store wants to pay a higher electricity bill as part of marketing itself to passer byes, why should the city stop them?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …because in the heat of the summer is when the electric grid is at maximum usage…and wanton wasting of energy simply puts the grid at risk of a brownout (or blackout) for no reason.

      Now, if during the winter they wanted to leave their doors open to lure customers in with their heat…that would probably be more palatable.

    • Hoss says:

      For one thing, the electrical grid in the northeast is a few lightbulbs away from a melt down.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        I think you mean ANOTHER meltdown. Anyone remember what happened on August 14, 2003?

        • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

          I remember that. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of my visit to New York, and it was miserable!

          Should have stayed in LA.

          • dragonfire81 says:

            I do too seeing as how 8/14 is my BIRTHDAY. What a interesting celebration that was.

        • mac-phisto says:

          i remember. my work closed down for 2 days. i hung out on a boat on the lake & drank beers all day instead of working. & i was paid for it.

          so, what was the problem again?

    • Fallom says:

      Because we don’t live in a post-scarcity wonderland where one person’s waste of a resource affects only them and their pocket book.

      I mean, as long as I’m able to pay for it why shouldn’t I be able to dump the city’s entire water supply into my private reservoir?

  4. brinks says:

    Stores that are right on the street usually leave their doors wide open when weather permits. I worked at a mall with an outdoor section, and we did the same. Come to think of it, I have no idea why we did that except to clearly show that we were open. Even when we were closed, though, people would tug on the doors and knock and shout “Are you open????” When your customers are that stupid, I guess there’s no reason to waste all that energy.

  5. SerenityDan says:

    Hey, on really hot days like today throw a sale and put a sign up saying “Come for the AC, Stay for the deals”

  6. ExtraCelestial says:

    Love the headline. Reminded me to call my mother :o)

    I like it better when I have to open the door on a hot day and get blasted with the cool air. The stores in my area vary on their practices, but this past weekend I didn’t see one open door.

  7. smartmuffin says:

    Nanny state laws run wild. If the business chooses to invest in higher electricity bills as part of an advertising strategy, who are these fascists to tell them they can’t?

    • Monkey says:

      Are businesses able to to pay the increased costs of the AC wastage? Sure.

      But then I reserve the right to come after them with a baseball bat when the increased load they’re creating with this wastage causes the power to blow out, and I go insane with the heat.

      Ever hear of externalities? Don’t be so simple as to think it’s just a “can they afford to pay it?” question.

      • Greely says:

        You could just create more electricity.

        • Joe_Bloe says:

          You’re trolling, right? The problem isn’t generation capacity, it’s transmission capacity.

          • smartmuffin says:

            Then create more efficient means of transmission. Or raise rates so this will no longer be an economically feasible option. Electricity is a commodity, this is the same as the government telling people they aren’t allowed to cook french fries because of a potato shortage. Give me a break. They buy the electricity, they can use it however they like.

            • Mr. Pottersquash says:

              raise rates? so we must all pay to stop waste?

              the reason we have government is to help manage scaricty and keep us from savage barbarism. the law keeps usage down, which keeps rates down for all, you can not allow a minority interest to make everything worse merely because they have the ability to do so.

              Otherwise, If I have the ability to douse myself in cow feces and browse their store, why should I be stopped? you want this man v. man crap, just remember the little guy has ways of getting his way too.

              • smartmuffin says:

                Yes, we all share the cost. That’s how supply and demand WORKS. I pay higher gas prices because the trucking industry exists. You can call it waste if you want, it’s obviously not waste to them, or they wouldn’t do it. What happens when some city councilman decides your Playstation 3 is waste?

                • Randell says:

                  OK idiot, lets play so you can learn something about economics. The transmission of utilities is done by a MONOPOLY. No person has a choice as to who they get their transmission from. The rationale behind this is to not have 8000 different companies running wires criss crossing each other and with different specs. The transmission of power is something the city and state DO have a compelling interest in managing. It would be like telling a nuclear plant they can not dispense their waste randomly into the community. In your stupidity, you think that is ok. The reality is leaving doors open to pollute the air with AC destroys the earth in much the same way nuclear waste does. Trying to keep as much as possible inside is EXACTLY what government is designed to do. If you do not like the “nanny” state, you are free to buy an island and generate your own electricity, your own army, your own, food, and build your own fucking car.

                • RvLeshrac says:

                  No, you don’t pay higher gas prices “because the trucking industry exists.” Gas prices, adjusted for inflation, are actually some of the lowest they’ve been in decades.

            • Veeber says:

              Government sure is free to tell us not to cook fries because of a potato shortage. During WWII we rationed meat, sugar, butter among other things. During the gas shortages in the 80′s we had rationing rules. We have water shortages all over the place so certain activities are restricted. You make it seem like it’s easy to make transmission more efficient. Running more lines is hard. Too much NIMBY. Raising the rates also is then shared by all residents. So because one or two people want to waste energy we need to price it higher for everyone? Just shut the damn door.

            • trentblase says:

              Yeah, cause the businesses won’t complain just as loudly when their rates are raised. There ARE other externalities, however. Running AC simply moves heat from the inside to the outside, and somewhat inefficiently at that. Try leaving your refrigerator door open all day and your house will get warmer. I think it’s reasonable for the city to regulate the dumping of waste heat into the environment.

  8. redskull says:

    They could do like some shops I saw in China– they had wide open doorways, but they were covered with those see-through thick plastic strips like they sometimes have in front of meat cooler doors in grocery stores here. So you could see in/out, light could get through, but the cold air would (mostly) stay indoors.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    What an odd law – who cares if people come in from the heat? That’s their perogative, and if they want to purchase or not, so be it.

    I understand the energy use issue, but not the “lure in overheated customers” issue.

    • DanRydell says:

      Where did you get the idea that the government has an issue with anything other than the wasted energy?

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I’m sure additional revenue from fines plays a role in this too.

      • AI says:

        If the government truly cared about energy costs, then why not limit a business to X kW/hr per square foot? Why does it matter how the business uses its energy, be it on lights, air conditioning, or a rollercoaster, as long as they conserve overall.

  10. Mxx says:

    PC Richards on 23rd ST(between 5th and 6th) leaves their doors open blasting AC.

  11. Froggmann says:

    Wow, NYC must be competing with SF to become the most overbearing nanny-city in the US.

  12. sanjaysrik says:

    Why not just put in revolving doors?

    • Veeber says:

      Retailers are allowed to open and close doors for patrons. They are restricted from propping open the doors. Revolving doors take up more room ($/sq ft in NYC is crazy) and wouldn’t serve the store in their “marketing” attempt. Yes large stores should have revolving doors in general to be more energy efficient but not the exact problem that the law is targeting.

  13. headhot says:

    This is up their with the bill board trucks in the list of things I hate. I’m not tree hugger, but leaving the door open is just extremely wasteful.

  14. tbk says:

    i will say that, as a former sales associate at a store that left the doors open in the summer, we were under strict instructions from corporate types to do so because our doors didn’t have a sensor for someone in a wheelchair to activate so they could come into the store. if we didn’t open the doors, customers in wheelchairs couldn’t easily enter the store.

  15. Tim says:

    There are systems that somehow keep cold air in while the doors are wide open. It involves blowing air in a stream from the ceiling to the floor right at the entrance. Apparently it’s almost as efficient as having doors.

    Then again, since the air conditioned air stays inside, it sort of defeats the whole purpose of leaving your door open. But it’s a start.

  16. Buckus says:

    If they can mandate low-flow toilets and shower heads, I’m not sure I see the problem with them saying “Keep the damn doors closed.” Hell, my dad will come down there and sit around telling everybody to close the doors. He’s retired.

  17. suburbancowboy says:

    I walk from Penn Station to Rock Center and back every day as part of my commute. it is amazing how many stores leave the doros open, and the blast of cold air you get as you walk by.
    An unbelieveable waste of energy. Though I must admit that it feels great as you walk by.

    Wasting energy to lure people into your store is a poor business model. you want peole in your store who intend to shop in your store, not people who came in to just get out of the heat. They aren’t buying anything.

  18. AI says:

    Did I miss the news report where all other problems have been solved in NY? Is there a big difference between a store using energy by opening a door to lure customers, vs using energy having big flashing display lights?

  19. OnePumpChump says:

    Really sensitive motion sensors, pointed at the street. Law circumvented.

  20. nacoran says:

    Um, to all the posters below who don’t understand, they are telling the stores not to prop open the doors. Why is it the cities business? Well, aside from the fact that producing all that electricity to run AC is a huge source of green house gases, which will make things warmer for everyone else, and aside from the fact that AC pumps out huge amounts of heat from the inefficient cooling process, the stress on the electric grid is at it’s highest when it’s hot out. Everyone is running their AC. If people are wasting electricity by running their AC with their doors open you can end up with rolling blackouts, which can leave people without electricity to run their AC. Old and sick people end up dying. So, that’s why the city can do this.

    • yzerman says:

      Here is a simple IDEA NYC employees. Why not setup a website and have customers report these guys who are breaking the law. Then all you need to do is check up the list of reported sites and start handing out tickets.

      I smell big money to be easily be made here.

  21. Darkneuro says:

    Why don’t the businesses put signs on the door “C’mon inside! It’s 68 degrees!”?

  22. JonBoy470 says:

    This ordinance is entirely justifiable even if you ignore the environmental damage. ConEd has the oldest, most decrepit, and most heavily stressed electrical grid in the nation. In ConEd’s defense, the upgrades desperately needed would require temporary disruptions to ConEd’s customers, which New Yorkers won’t abide, so the work goes undone. An overstressed power grid is a house of cards, and a minor fault can precipitate widespread, cascading blackouts. And NYC without power is a place of chaos and bedlam…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_blackout_of_1977

  23. nerble says:

    Yah well, don’t come whining to me when the state tells you you can’t run your A/C any lower than 85 degrees. Because that’s what’s next.