Dear Shops: Close Your Doors

Why would I say this? That’s an easy one. Wasting energy is bad because: a) in the immediate future, energy suppliers may have trouble coping with demand this winter, and b) in the longer term, the more heat that escapes out of an open door, the more heat a shop has to use to keep the shop warm. And that’s a on a planet experiencing global warming.

It’s not just heating. Air conditioning in the summer months costs energy too.

Yes but do shops need to be told? Yes, because they do not close their doors. They do not close them because they are afraid shoppers will think they are closed, or because they imagine their competitors keep their doors open and so are afraid to lose customers to their competitors.

How Much Heat Is Lost – Is It Really A Problem? Cambridge University did a study in 2010, monitoring two shops. They found that:

The gathered energy consumption data indicate that an average savings of 30 % for Cambridge Toy Shop and 54 % for Ryman Stationery can be achieved during the heating season by keeping external doors closed.

That’s clear evidence that there’s a lot of waste.

What About A Voluntary Policy

Campaigns to get shopkeepers to sign up to keeping their doors closed have come and gone, and nothing has changed.

If you google for information about it, and you will find articles over the past fifteen years pointing out how much energy is lost by keeping shop doors open.

To those shops that have a closed door policy in their own shop — congratulations. But it is minimal — nearly all shopkeepers are just too worried about making the first move and fear losing out.

Speaking To Shopkeepers

My wife, Tamara, has been speaking to shopkeepers about the heat they let escape through the doors they leave open wide.

She has seen the attitude of shop managers change from the previous ‘who is this person coming to make my life difficult?’, to ‘I would, but…’

The climate risk is more well known now, and shopkeepers are more positive about closed doors. But they say that it is out of their hands, that head office insists they keep the doors open. Or they say it is a great idea but they are afraid their customers will think their shops are shut, so they can’t want to make the first move.

Now everyone knows there’s a global problem. But shopkeepers still worry about losing custom — and that is too strong a headwind for a voluntary ‘close the door’ idea to battle against.

Why Legislation

If there is an easier way, I would prefer it to legislation. But this problem is not going away and the amount of heat lost is costing everyone and warming up the planet faster for no good reason.

So instead of waiting for people to make the first move — just say that everyone has to keep their doors closed.

What Does The Petition Say

The petition says to the Government — please make legislation that everyone has to keep their doors closed, then no one should think they are at a disadvantage and everyone benefits.

If the petition gets enough signatures, government will debate this, and if they like it they will introduce legislation so all shops will have to keep their doors closed (that is, not fixed open) during shop opening hours.

Update 4 June 2023

The petition is now closed. It did not reach the number that would have prompted a Parliamentary debate – nowhere near.