Why is this bylaw being considered?

    At a regular Council meeting held on Aug. 13, 2019, the motion, below, was passed. It directed City staff to develop a bylaw that would prohibit businesses from having their doors and windows open while the air conditioning is on. A draft bylaw will be presented to Council in the spring of 2022. 

    Motion of Council: 

    Whereas the City of Kingston has established a goal of greater sustainability, recently declaring a Climate Emergency and naming carbon reduction as a Council Priority; and 

    Whereas there are many properties, particularly commercial, that leave their doors or windows open while their air conditioning is operating, which some Kingston residents have complained about; and 

    Whereas buildings and their energy systems (heating and cooling) account for a substantial portion of community greenhouse gas emissions, and energy conservation and efficiencies contribute directly and significantly to reducing carbon pollution; and 

    Whereas there is already an Anti-idling Bylaw, albeit not strictly enforced and largely ignored by Tour Buses and others; 

    Therefore Be It Resolved that staff be requested to prepare a Bylaw to prohibit open doors and windows when air conditioning is in operation, to be passed in Q2, 2020; and That Bylaw Officers be requested to more assertively enforce both the Anti-idling Bylaw and, if passed, the future Bylaw to discourage open doors and windows when air conditioning is in operation.

    What are the potential benefits of closing your business’ door and/or window?

    • Reducing the business’s carbon footprint.
    • Demonstrating environmental stewardship to customers, saving money, and increasing profits.
    • Maintaining a comfortable and healthy environment for customers and staff when the weather is hot.
    • Reducing strain on the power grid during peak demand periods.

    Will a closed door discourage customers?

    Hundreds of stores of all types in Kingston, including chain stores, operate very successfully with their doors closed while air-conditioning systems are running. In today’s eco-conscious market, consumers may view open doors and windows as a wasteful or undesirable habit, potentially making them less likely to enter a store. 

    According to a national survey of 1,500 millennial consumers in the United States from the not-for-profit Generation 180, 62 per cent of respondents viewed the practice of leaving the door open while air-conditioning systems are on as wasteful, with 25 per cent being less likely to shop at such retailers. The popular international fashion retailer H&M conducted its own energy and financial savings audit, finding that one of its stores has the potential to save roughly $10,000 from a closed-door policy. They adopted this company-wide policy in 2016.

    Would Kingston be the first City to have an Open Door Air-Conditioning Bylaw?

    No. In fact, several cities have implemented similar bylaws alongside communication campaigns that aim to positively reinforce the benefits of closing doors when air conditioning is on.

    As a business owner, how can I engage in this process?

    Business owners are invited to review the draft bylaw and to submit input by 4 p.m. on May 13. This feedback will be compiled into a report that will be presented to Council in Spring 2022.