Back-to-school shopping? Help I.D. stores that save air conditioning

Have you ever been taken aback when businesses leave their doors open while running the air conditioning during the hottest months of the year? You're not alone.

Such carelessness can hugely impact the environment, with the average store culprit in the U.S. wasting some 4,200 kWh of energy and releasing 2.2 tons of pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the environment each summer. That's the same amount emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.


To remind retailers and others to be mindful during the busy back-to-school shopping season, clean-energy nonprofit Generation 180 is asking environmentally conscious consumers to take action. Through the Keep It Cool campaign, you can easily and anonymously urge stores to keep their doors closed and reduce pollution in your own community.

Make a difference


Participating in Keep It Cool is simple: Just use Facebook Messenger on your smartphone to send a pinned store location to Generation 180 (read directions here or watch this video) noting whether the store has its doors open or closed. The nonprofit will then reach out to the stores to recognize those that 'keep it cool' with their doors closed and educate those who are allowing energy to escape. A national campaign map tracks all the stores identified by consumers with doors open or closed.

Consumers support this change. According to a nationally representative survey of 1,500 millennials, 62 percent think that this practice is wasteful, and up to 25 percent are less likely to shop at retailers that leave their doors open.

Just creating awareness could go a long way toward reducing carbon emissions. Analysts estimate if U.S. retailers maintained closed-door policies all summer, they could reduce pollution equivalent to an 830-million-mile trek by the average car, or a whopping 55,000 cross-country trips by semi-trucks.

Studies have found that about 20 percent of stores prop their doors open. As we are in the hottest and second-busiest shopping season of the year, they need a gentle reminder to preserve energy and prevent pollution.

"One of the quickest and least-expensive ways to cut carbon emissions is for people to make simple changes in their everyday lives," notes Nate McFarland of Generation 180. "The Keep It Cool campaign gives retailers the opportunity to do the right thing and showcase their green values, making it good for business, the community and the environment."

Generation 180 works to advance the transition to clean energy and supports a cultural shift in energy awareness via original content, digitally enabled campaigns and an empowered volunteer network.