Open Door Issue Heats Up

July 14th, 2010

There are some exciting new developments in my campaign to get retail stores to close their doors when the air conditioning is on (and the DC power grid is strained).  Most importantly, I’ve begun a dialogue with the very responsive DC council member Mary Cheh and started discussing the next steps.  Jeremy Faust, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment, was helpful enough to dig up some dead legislation that was introduced by Jim Graham in 2007 called the ‘Closed Doors and Windows Energy Conservation Act’ [pdf link].  It’s not perfect, but hopefully it can be re-examined and improved upon.

In other news, the NBC Washington site published a big article (also on MSNBC) about air condition use in DC that fortunately highlighted my letter but unfortunately did a very poor job of reporting (and somehow got a way with a lot of editorializing).  I responded in the comments where things got really interesting, including a lovely example of Godwin’s Law.  Here is an excerpt from the article (where I am called ‘local man’) and then some choice comment highlights:

D.C. resident Nicko Margolies is rightly annoyed by the practice of many stores in the city to set their air conditioning on full blast while leaving their front doors wide open.

In a letter to the Washington Post, Margolies calls it “an extraordinarily wasteful act that strains the city’s electrical grid” that is “terrible for the environment.”

True. But Margolies isn’t just griping — he is also calling for legislation. He wants the District to “punish stores” that “blow cold air directly into the street.” He tells us that he will be contacting every member of the D.C. Council, and “hopefully starting a movement” toward legislation similar to that adopted by New York City two hot summers ago. (So far, nine New York stores have been slapped with $200 fines.

I won’t copy the whole article, but it gets a little off base.  Here are some of the comments of support:

Hey Nicko, I feel for you. This site’s reporting ethics seem synonymous with that of communist propaganda sometimes. You had a valid point and they left it out. People would never intentionally leave their own door open with the AC on, so why should you be heckled by a utility company when businesses do it all day long? Georgetown is the worst example around here. The rest of you critics need to read deeper into these things. NBC Washington is failing to report valid points made, and that’s not something any respectable reporter would do.

[via NBC Washington comment #7]

I would love to get Mr. Margolies contact info so that I can join his efforts !

[via NBC Washington comment #9]

Mr. Margolies —
I’m glad you commented on this story and further explained your point of view. The reporter made you sound like some whacked out hippy.

[via NBC Washington comment #10]

Nicko Margolies is right and Orvetti misses the point entirely. It’s not about people’s “right” to waste (which is nonetheless deplorable), it’s about the grid and the environment.

[via MSNBC comment #4]

Posted in News, Opinion | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Open Door Issue Heats Up”

  1. trisha Says:

    hey nicko! bravo! i posted the story on my FB profile and got a great response. people are really pissed about it. and you’ve made a crusader out of me. on my run last night, i was stopping at the stores on conn ave and closing their doors for them. then this morning, i stopped at the stores with doors open and politely told them that their practice was wasteful and puts an unnecessary burden on the power grid, leading to blackouts that will leave our poor and elderly stuck with no ac. i’m now working on a flyer that we can put on doors to get the message across to store owners. let me know what else i can do to help.


  2. Nicko Says:

    Hi Trisha,

    Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad to hear that I’ve inspired you to close some doors, however this issue returns every summer so I’m pursuing local legislation to fix it (sad that we must legislate common sense). I will keep you updated on that front and let you know what else you can do to help.


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