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“Shut that door!” If Birmingham’s shopkeepers followed the advice of 1970’s comedian Larry Grayson they could reduce their energy use by up to 50%. That’s no joke! 

The Birmingham Close the Door campaign supported by Birmingham Friends of the Earth has the same advice, except this time we’re serious!

The campaign is already running in various towns and cities with huge success and it’s now time for the UK’s second largest city to get involved and inform shop owners to close their doors. By not complying a single shop is burning the equivalent amount of CO2 emissions as 3 return flights from London to Hong Kong per year! Last summer citizens in New York (where it is an illegal offence to leave the door open) took to the streets of 5th Avenue demanding shops to close the doors when their air conditioning is on in an attempt to highlight the awareness of energy waste.

Getting shops to close their doors will not only save a tremendous amount of energy but it will also enable them to dramatically reduce their heating bills. “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”, informs Close the Doors founder Jeannie Dawkins. The campaign has found tropical temperatures in some shops, with temperatures reaching a scorching 25 degrees during the winter period. Keeping doors open and the heating on full is estimated to be costing the UK’s retailers £1billion a year. Closed doors and hence warmer shops would encourage shops to cease using old heating methods such as “air curtains,” these disgusting encounters of hot air that engulf you as you cross the shops threshold are among the greatest wasters of energy – just one air curtain causes more CO2 emissions than a return Glasgow to London coach trip per week!

If two-thirds of the nation’s shops closed their doors, the UK could save the equivalent of taking 1.1 million cars from the roads in carbon emissions, reports Close the Door. Scientific evidence for this claim has been researched by the Engineering Department at Cambridge University, who studied energy usage at two shops in Cambridge – Rymans the stationer, and the independent Cambridge Toy Shop. Energy usage at Rymans was reduced by 54% when doors were kept shut for a day, while the Cambridge Toy Shop saved 30%. Based on these calculations, it said the Rymans shop could cut its energy bill by £1,814 a year, and the toy shop £516 a year. Until now the only argument retailers had was that leaving doors open boosted sales, however according to the findings by Cambridge University this is nothing more than a retail myth!

Commenting on the findings, Jeannie Dawkins, director of the Close the Doors Campaign, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s time for retailers to acknowledge the massive contribution they are making to energy waste and carbon emissions if they heat the street.” Such claims by Dawkins have received massive encouragement; up and down the country politicians, academics and celebrities alike have shown their support to entice shops all over the UK to change their door policies. Cambridge alone now has more than 300 shops that stipulate a closed door policy which is an excellent start on the road to getting more shops to consider the loss of profit and energy.

Birmingham City Council has committed to a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2026. With 46% of Birmingham’s CO2 emissions coming from its non-domestic buildings (shops, restaurants, offices, factories and public buildings), one of the easiest ways to reach this goal would be to simply have shops close doors.

Take Action

The next time you’re out for some retail therapy and see a shop door wide open, politely ask them to close the door. Simple! Or come along to our campaigns meetings.

Further Information

Contact Robert Pass – – for details