FRANCE ENERGY: Air-conditioned shops will be told to shut doors to cut waste.
I had wanted to start off my new blog routine with something about our cool new telescopes sneaking a new peek back in time to the very far reaches of the universe or spying on neutron stars colliding, or even the LHC particle accelerator being switched back on – something awesome like that! Those kinds of blogs will follow!
But for now I’ve just been stumped by this article in the news about air conditioners and open doors! Why is the wasteful nature of having the air-con on and the door open only now being seen as being wasteful? I mean, this is part of the problem that has led the world to being in the state it’s in! And it’s a big problem! On these little Islands of the Ireland and the British Isles, we are a drop in the ocean when it comes to this kind of thing! Even the fact that we are talking about air-con here is news! Although, that being said, the same thing goes for heaters in the winter! …and open doors!
But when you really stop to think about it – and I always do, every time I see one of those open fronted fridge units in the supermarket or in the coffee shop – this outright wasteful infrastructure is so ubiquitous that if we were mature enough to deal with it and fix the problem, I dare say that we could probably significantly alter the course of global warming over night! Never mind switching to electric cars (don’t even get me started on diesel powered generators powering charging units for electric cars in some parts of the world!)!
I think it’s a good thing that shops and businesses should start facing fines for keeping doors open when the air-con/heating is on. Personally, I would call it a tax on friggin stupidity and I’m surprised that it’s taken so long for the penny to drop! I think the open-fronted refrigeration unit in shops is the height of modern laziness – are we too lazy to open a door? I guess that’s a good question and central to the article and the argument!
I worked in Shenzhen in China for just shy of 3 years, teaching English in public schools and private education centres. Shenzhen is a stones through from the border to HongKong’s Northern Territories, so I often took memorable trips into HongKong. Now, this part of the world is Humid with, yes, a capital H! During significant parts of the year you literally can’t function without air-con. In terms of energy usage/waste, this is where we are a drop in the ocean because in these parts of the world there are no doors to the shops on the significantly ginormous and numerous high-streets. There are no shop-fronts at all! They are completely open, like a gaping garage door. All with air-con blasting away! I remember one little convenience store near the ferry port across to HK Central being a little oasis of cool on our pilgrimage to the Flying Pan (an outstanding pun and 24hour breakfast joint that has since sadly shut down!). All you had to do was pretend you were looking for something and wander into the back of the store for a few moments of blissful, refreshing, air-conditioned reprieve from the HongKong climate. Maybe even buy a bottle of water while there! I was always amazed at what seemed to be some sort of Dyson-esque air barrier between the outside and the inside of these little stores! There are no barriers of course! They are just open to the elements and working away to try to maintain an equilibrium inside! Pointlessly, wastefully fighting entropy!
Most shocking for me though was in the schools! Places of education! In the teachers offices where I had my desk and would work between classes: Air-con on and windows open! I was dumfounded! In the classrooms, I would try to explain to the kids that you had to keep the windows and doors closed when the AC was on, to maintain a closed system, but they weren’t having it! I remember one kid replying to me “Teacher says we have to keep the door open to let some fresh air in”! This was because the kids were getting sick! They though it was because the air was stale if the doors and windows were closed, but it was actually because of constantly going between such extremes of hot and humid outside and being blasted by AC units cranked up to the max to try to condition a never ending stream of outside air flowing in through the open doors and windows!!! I remember marvelling at actual cloud forming when the AC air in the Flying Pan met the humid air from outside! This was extreme though because they actually had a sliding door that was kept shut as much as possible! It just highlights the stark difference in the air quality!
So, AC/heaters on and doors open! For years and years this has been happening. This has been the norm! This is the problem! This kind of nonsense and outright stupidity in the world is why the world is in the state it is in and heading the way it is! Are we really too lazy to operate doors that separate off the spaces we want to keep cool? Are we really that stupid to have allowed this kind of behaviour to not only happen, but to become quite so universally accepted? It’s heartbreakingly frustrating! It’s dangerous and it’s got to be one of the areas of fundamental change we see happening in our societies and cultures around the world!
Don’t agree with me? Then answer this question: How many times have you gone to one of those open fronted fridge units to get a drink and you’ve got a can or a bottle from closer to the back because it’s colder?