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24 Nov 2010 02:11:07

Shops should shut their doors

New research commissioned by campaigners Close The Door and carried out by engineers at Cambridge University has confirmed today that shops that shut their doors while the heating is on could save up to 10 tonnes of carbon emissions and cut their energy bills in half.

The study carried out during last winter found that the average shop that leaves its door open emits 91kg of CO2 each week - the equivalent of a return coach trip from London to Glasgow - despite installing so-called 'air curtains' over doorways.

Some retailers had argued that they did not need to close their doors as 'air curtain' devices served a similar purpose, locking warm air in the building. But, the research carried out by Cambridge University argued air curtains were having little impact on energy use and carbon emissions. As a typical device, air curtains use 24kWh per day, making them one of the biggest users of energy in store.

The Close the Door campaign claims that by simply closing the door shops not only contribute towards the national target of a 34% carbon emissions reduction by 2020, but also slashes a shop's energy usage in half. The research suggests that if all retailers followed their advice UK energy usage could drop by 2.5%.

The group also argued that customers and staff feel more comfortable if temperatures are maintained at a consistent low level, adding that doing so allows the heating to be turned off earlier in the day without affecting internal temperatures.

The Close the Door campaign is endorsed by former government chief scientific adviser Professor Sir David King, carbon-footprinting expert Mike Berners-Lee, and a host of MPs including William Hague. The campaign has expanded from persuading eight Cambridge shops to keep their doors closed to bringing the message to 300 retailers nationwide.

Jeannie Dawkins, the Close the Door campaign's director, called for more retailers to follow the example of firms like Vodafone, Jaeger and Neal's Yard Remedies, and keep their doors shut over the winter. She said "By simply closing the shop door, CO2 emissions dramatically decrease, energy bills are reduced, and customers and staff are made more comfortable. It's a no-brainer."

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