NEW YORK (Sept. 3, 2008) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg today signed a first of its kind law prohibiting businesses from wasting energy by blasting air conditioning out open doors and onto city sidewalks to attract customers. This new energy conservation measure could become a model for municipalities across the country that are seeking to conserve energy, reduce local global warming pollution, and relieve summer peak demands on their power supplies.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) assisted City Council staff on technical aspects of this legislation (Intro. 264) and pushed for it to become law. An analysis commissioned by the NRDC found that a business with a typical 6 foot by 7 foot doorway in New York City wastes up to $1,000 dollars and about a ton of CO2 in a summer if it leaves it’s door open with the air conditioning on.
A statement from the Director of the New York Urban Program at NRDC, Eric A. Goldstein, follows:
“Businesses that try to entice passersby into their stores by opening their doors in the summer heat and spilling air conditioning out onto city sidewalks have been doing so at steep energy and environmental costs.
“The innovative bill Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign today will require New York City businesses to keep their doors closed to conserve energy, curb air pollution and reduce the demand on our overstressed power grid. The Long Island Power Authority has estimated that stores engaging in this practice waste 20-25 percent of the air-conditioning they use. This practice is foolish - it inflates these stores’ electric bills and it puts city neighborhoods at an increased risk for blackouts.
“Over the past several summers, the city’s peak electricity demand has reached record levels, causing power outages and brownouts. Already this summer, drain on the city’s power grid has caused several Brooklyn and Manhattan neighborhoods to lose power, and slowed transit on five subway lines. Wasting air conditioning through this widespread practice also jeopardizes the reliability of the city’s power supply on the hottest summer days, when the city is struggling to keep its power service reliable.
“This new law will help businesses do the right thing for New York City, for energy costs, and for the environment. This is one more example of New York City’s leadership in the energy efficiency arena, and one that will hopefully be imitated by other cities across the nation.
“We congratulate and thank New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Gale Brewer, chief sponsor of the legislation, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for working together to advance this important legislation.”