What’s with the open door?

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Editor: I love the Canadian Rockies; they inspire me and renew me.

Originally from Alberta, I have lived more than half my life in the eastern United States. Returning to Banff, where I was married, always fills me with happiness; grounding me through the wisdom and strength I derive from the mountains.

Visiting Banff and Canmore the first week of November, I was in the winter wonderland of my dreams – the weather was crisp, the snow was falling and the air felt fresh and alive.

However, while walking down main streets in Banff and Canmore, I was amazed and dispirited to find that the majority of the stores in Banff had their doors wide open, and perhaps a third of the stores in Canmore had the same.

The temperatures were in the single digits and many stores had their heat turned up to high; those few that had “air curtains” clearly weren’t doing their job of blocking the inside heat from going out, nor from stopping the outside cold from coming in.

For towns that pride themselves on their environmental sensibilities, on their promotion and protection of our outdoor sacred spaces, this senseless use of energy makes no sense to me.

When I asked many shop clerks why they had their doors open, they told me the shop owners feel that open doors draw people in. I know that many business districts in other cities successfully turn this around and make a closed door a sign of good business and caring for our environment.

In fact, in New York City, a 2015 law requires NYC businesses and restaurants to keep their doors closed when their air conditioning is on. The rationale for the law is that it will have a significant impact on the city’s power grid and reduce carbon emissions.

I would think Banff and Canmore could easily accomplish this same thing … albeit with the heating season in mind.

Harriet Shugarman,

Wyckoff, New Jersey

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