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Retailers close doors to conserve electricity related to air conditioning

Tuesday, August 3rd 2010 1:35:07pm

Retailers close doors to conserve electricity related to air conditioning

(Toronto, August 3, 2010) Doors Closed, the Conservation Council of Ontario's campaign to stop air-conditioned sidewalks, is back. Street teams are being deployed around Toronto again this week to hand out posters and to encourage business owners to save electricity.

The message is clear:  Ontarians don't like to witness stores wasting electricity.  A recent survey, conducted by Toronto Hydro, showed that 40 per cent of respondents said they wouldn't shop in a store that wastes electricity.   That's a lot of consumers and the Conservation Council of Ontario (CCO) is asking them to make good on their promise.

The CCO is asking stores to display a 'Doors Closed' poster if they have made a commitment to saving energy while keeping cool.  And the Council is asking consumers to take action.  "For all of August, we are asking consumers to walk past the open fridge doors and shop at stores that are saving energy", said Chris Winter, Executive Director of CCO.

The Council has teamed up with greenTbiz, the environmental support program affiliated with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, to send two street teams to visit stores across the city.  Stores are asked to place a poster in their front door or window if they commit to closing the door while running an air-conditioner.

The greenTbiz teams are also promoting the Live Green Toronto membership card that helps businesses connect with thousands of green consumers across the City and the peaksaverĀ® and Power Savings Blitz programs of Toronto Hydro and the Ontario Power Authority.

Early reports from the street teams indicate a lot of support from Toronto stores.  After four weeks of canvassing, they have enlisted over 1200 Doors Closed participants. "We've had people come up to us on the street and ask us for posters", said Colin Marcano who has canvassed both small stores and larger chains.  "For the most part, the small stores get it.  It's the large chains and higher rent areas where we need to focus our efforts.   The Conservation Council will be asking major retailers to adopt a policy of implementing conservation measures when the outside temperature rises above 25 degrees.

Any store or chain can participate in the Doors Closed campaign simply by conserving energy over 25 degrees and by printing off a poster for their front door.  Retail chains can adapt the poster to their own logo.  For community groups that wish to run a local Doors Closed campaign, the CCO will adapt the poster to include their logo.

Chris Winter, Executive Director of CCO, is excited about the campaign's fifth year.  "It's so simple, and so effective," said Winter. "Stores often leave their doors open to appear friendly and inviting. But that makes air conditioners work harder than they need to which, in turn, uses more energy. We developed the Doors Closed signs as an easy way to help people identify energy efficient retailers, and for retailers to show they care."

The poster is available in English, French, Chinese, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog and Tamil. A second sign, in English and French, is available for stores which don't have air-conditioning, or that use an air curtain.  It says "Please come in.  We are saving energy".

"Toronto Hydro is committed to electricity conservation and Doors Closed gives us another opportunity to encourage businesses to take a very simple step to reduce their power bills. They don't leave their doors open in the winter, so why do it in the summer?" said Blair Peberdy, Vice-President of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs of Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited.

Through the Doors Closed campaign, the street teams are also promoting deeper energy savings through the conservation programs of the campaign partners, including Toronto Hydro, the Ontario Power Authority, and the City of Toronto.

"The Ontario Power Authority is pleased to work with the Conservation Council of Ontario again this year to encourage businesses to manage their electricity use during the hot summer months," said Colin Anderson CEO of the Ontario Power Authority. "By working together, we can all help to achieve the province's aggressive energy conservation goals and build a cleaner Ontario, now and for future generations".

"Doors Closed is our way of encouraging people to be conscious of their energy use," Winter added. "It isn't about grand gestures, or earth-shattering changes. It's about the little things we can all do, every day, to help conserve energy. Small shifts in behaviour can make a big difference environmentally and financially."

Details about Doors Closed and downloadable artwork can be found at www.weconserve.ca/doorsclosed.
To learn more about energy conservation for businesses, visit http://greentbiz.org

Businesses can apply online and get more information about the Live Green Toronto membership card program at www.livegreentoronto.ca

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For more information, or to arrange interviews with the street teams, please contact:

Don Huff, Environmental Communication Options, 416.972.7401 (office), 416.805.7720 (cell) or email huffd@ecostrategy.ca
Chris Winter, Conservation Council of Ontario, 416.533.1635 or 647-393-5000 (cell) or e-mail cco@web.ca