'Shut the Front Door' campaign calls on businesses to keep the AC inside

NEW YORK (WABC) -- "Shut the Front Door!" How many times to parents say that during the summer, to keep the air conditioning inside?

For some businesses in New York City, it's the law. And now a campaign called 'Shut the Front Door' is to make sure they comply.

An open door with AC overflowing onto the hot city can seem so welcoming. But that's not the invitation the Department of Consumer Affairs wants to see.

"Many large businesses are keeping their doors open to lure in customers and that is what we are trying to prevent," said New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin.

It's actually punishable by fine. A law since 2008 requires stores to close the door when the air conditioning is on.

But there is a loophole: the store must have more than 4,000 square feet to have the law apply to them.

"We have also stepped up our enforcements this year, so since June we inspected close to 900 businesses In New York," said Menin.

Wednesday 200 volunteers were passing out stickers to educate consumers and raise awareness with the hash tag #becoolsavefuel.

Plus the city vows to turn up the heat. Not just fining violators but trying to apply the law to all businesses no matter what their size.

"Retailers who keep their doors open while blasting their air conditioners are wasting energy, boosting their electricity costs, rising the possibility of brownouts or blackouts on peak energy demand days, and unnecessarily contributing to climate change, global warming emissions," said Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

If just one business closes its doors during the summer time, it prevents the release of more than 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide, saving five barrels of oil, and up to $1,000 on electric bills. Imagine if everyone complied.
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.