Climate Week Best Campaign 2012

FAQs

Why are we asking shops to close the door?

Closing the door:

  • Cuts energy usage by up to 50%
  • Improves air quality – fewer noxious fumes inside the shop
  • Saves money and increases profits
  • Is the only way to maintain a comfortable and healthy environment for customers and staff when the weather is cold
  • Reduces carbon footprint
  • Cuts down on shoplifting

What are the effects of a closed door on air pollution?

Research shows that closing the shop door during trading hours significantly reduces levels of harmful airborne particulates instore. This helps to protect staff and customers from high air pollution levels in the street outside.

Dr Ben Barratt of King's College London / MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health says:

 “In many of the UK’s towns and cities we still face levels of air pollution that carry serious health risks, both in the short and long term. Work carried out by King’s College London and Imperial College London in shops on Regent Street showed a clear one third drop in PM2.5 and black carbon particulates simply by closing the door during working hours. NO2 was similarly cut. Closing the shop doors facing polluted streets affords a significant reduction in risk not only to customers, but also to staff who have to work in the space all day. It is simple common sense.

While we work on resolving the wider issue of air pollution, it is important that people at most risk are made aware, and that simple measures to reduce their exposure are made available to them. This may be by taking a less polluted travel route, ventilating houses near busy roads by opening windows only at the back, or closing the shop door on to busy streets

Annual maps of air pollution in London are available from KCL, which is a great way of understanding if you are at risk. 

Real-time pollution maps of London are available and you can also get an iPhone app. These allow you to plan your action and journeys to minimise the heath risk.

Won’t a closed door discourage customers?

Hundreds of stores of all types and sizes already trade very successfully with their doors closed when the heating's on. Large companies have conducted thorough internal research and found that closing the door does not have a detrimental effect on profit. Most independents are familiar with their energy bills and happily close their doors. Indeed, a comfortable temperature in store allows customers to stay longer and buy more. We can provide you with decals (stickers) that make it clear why your doors are closed and promote you to the large and growing number of customers who appreciate good environmental practice.

How is a closed door good for staff?

Independent research by Cambridge University shows that it is essential to close the door in cold weather to stay within CIBSE guidelines for healthy working conditions. With the door open, some parts of the store will be too cold and draughty, and others (near heaters compensating for the cold) too hot. By closing the door, not only are there less emissions going out into the environment, but the closed door acts as a barrier to the noxious fumes out on the high street. Usdaw, the shop workers union, supports the Close the Door campaign.

What can we do when our head office has an open door policy?

Take up the issue with your head office; let them know that in your city customers are encouraged to use environmentally responsible stores. Let them know that in order to provide healthy working conditions under CIBSE guidelines the door needs to be closed once the temperature drops much below 15°C. A simple rule of thumb is that when the heating goes on the door gets closed. Tell them about our campaign and contact info@closethedoor.org.uk for support. If you feel brave enough close the door anyway; plenty of others do. The campaign is supported by Usdaw, which wants shops to close the doors to create a better, healthier environment for employees.

But we use air curtains instead – aren’t those good at keeping the heat in?

Air curtains use 30-year old technology to solve a modern problem. They operate at about 50% efficiency, not to mention using up energy themselves. As soon as someone passes through the air currents are disrupted anyway. They are totally unsuitable for use near a doorway. Plus, an overhead heater is not an air curtain but is often confused with one. Cambridge University Research found that so-called “air curtains” over the door are among the greatest wasters of energy: a single one consumes 24kWh per day. This is equivalent to emitting 92kg of CO₂per week, or more emissions than a return Glasgow London coach trip.

A detailed study of air curtain efficiency is available at www.aiha.org/aihce06/handouts/a2valkeapaa.pdf .

How can we close our door when the shop next door has its door open?

Be a leader in energy awareness. Set an example; perhaps others will close their door if you close yours. Your shop will be promoted; your neighbour will get left behind. You will be following the example of hundreds and hundreds of shops of all types and sizes across the UK already trading very happily behind closed doors with their heating on.

But it’s too hot with the doors closed

Turn down the heat. Save more energy, save on your bills. Even in stores with multiple floors, both customers and staff complain that it’s too cold in areas facing onto the street, and too stuffy elsewhere. Closing the doors and controlling the temperature sensibly could make your store a more pleasant place to be.

But doesn’t disabled access require an open door?

Under planning regulations, a permanently open door is never a solution to disabled access requirements. Disabled groups have made the point that draughts and temperature extremes instore are worse for the less mobile customer. They need good access but this can be provided in a number of sensible ways such as staff help, door bells, handles fitted at the right height and - best of all - an automatic door entrance.

Does man-made climate change exist?

Here's the answer given by Naomi Oreskes - Harvard Professor of the History of Science.