Like banning the incandescent bulb or abolishing the plastic bag, I'm not quite sure what to make of the Close the Door Campaign—a UK effort to ask retailers to close their doors to save energy. On the one hand, Leo Hickman suggests that shutting retailers' doors in winter could cut energy consumption, on the other hand, environmentalists' focus on specific but conspicuous forms of wastefulness comes across more as pious nagging than a serious strategy for energy efficiency. The Close the Door Campaign, which features the Carbon Trust and the British Retail Consortium is asking retailers across the country to repeal their "open door policy" inorder to cut down on heating and cooling costs. The project is currently supporting research into just how much energy could be saved if high street stores kept their doors closed, and has already solicited the commitment of national retailers Neal's Yard and Jaeger, and is looking for others to follow. (Of course, in a competitive environment, it will take a group of retailers to commit to get any real movement.)
On the one hand, I can see the value in this. It irks me no end to see blatantly wasteful behaviour, especially when I know that we are all paying for it—both in the cost of the items we buy, and the resultant pollution from power stations. And we are customers—so if we'd prefer to shop at stores that keep their doors closed, it makes perfect sense to speak up.
And yet, I can't help but worry. Heaven knows that the skeptic/denialist climate trolls don't need any more ammunition to claim environmentalists are trying to "control people's lives". I can see a counter campaign brewing as we speak. Of course, the slightly overly dramatic (though presumably tongue in cheek) video below doesn't help.
Ultimately, in the long run, the real answer is a fair price on carbon—which would show energy wasting to be as stupid as it really is.