“Keep It Cool” Campaign Mobilizes Consumers to Reduce Retailer Energy Waste

Many of us, on one shopping trip or another, have felt the inviting rush of cool air that hits you as you pass retailer after retailer with open doors and air conditioning blasting in the hot summer months.  Although seemingly harmless, this prevalent habit creates a surprising amount of waste and unnecessary pollution.  According to Con Edison, the average store running A/C with an open door wastes about 4,200 kWh of electricity over the course of the summer.  Generating this much electricity releases about 2.2 tons of carbon dioxide – the same amount of pollution emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.

The good news? A significant reduction in pollution is as simple as closing the door.  This simple change in behavior is “one of the quickest and least expensive ways to cut carbon emissions,” says Nate McFarland, the Director of Communications at Generation 180, a non-profit created to accelerate the adoption of clean energy and help support a cultural shift to an energy aware society. Generation 180’s first national campaign – called “Keep It Cool” – was designed to help consumers encourage retailers in their communities to end this wasteful habit.

The campaign leverages a mobile application for consumers to anonymously recognize shops that “keep it cool” with closed doors and reaches out to educate retailers who are allowing energy to escape through their open doors. A national map tracks all of the stores that are identified with doors open or closed. Consumers are being recruited to participate through a national social media campaign.  “Our Keep It Cool campaign empowers consumers to have an impact on wasteful behaviors in their own neighborhoods.  We believe this is good for business, the community, and the environment,” says McFarland.

How Keep It Cool Works
Anyone with a smartphone can participate in Keep It Cool.  All consumers have to do is take notice of retailers in their communities that have their doors open or closed while running A/C and send a pinned location to Generation 180 via Facebook Messenger.  Here is a short video on how it works.

Once Generation 180 hears from a consumer, they contact the retailer.  Stores with closed doors are recognized with a green pin on the campaign map promoting their location.  For stores with doors open, Generation 180 reaches out to remind them to close their doors to conserve energy.  After a week has passed, if their doors remain open, they place a yellow cation pin on the campaign map.  Generation 180 will invite all retailers contacted to commit to keeping their doors closed and join the effort to promote the campaign.

“The success of Keep It Cool depends on consumers getting into action and sharing their activities with their friends and social networks,” says Susan Klees, the campaign’s director. “We encourage everyone who cares about the environment to join our effort this summer – it’s an easy and fun way to make a difference and breathe easier in your own community.” To learn more and join the movement visit www.keepitcool.org.

About Generation 180
Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original content, digitally enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network.

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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