Kingston city councillors look to end wasteful air-conditioning with new bylaw

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WATCH: Kingston city councillors Jim Neill and Robert Kiley have proposed a bylaw that would prohibit open doors and windows when air conditioning is running – Aug 13, 2019

Two Kingston city councillors are looking to shut the door on wasted energy by proposing a bylaw.

Tuesday night, veteran councillor Jim Neill and first year councillor Robert Kiley will propose a bylaw that would, if approved, prohibit any open door and window when an air conditioning system is in operation.

“Back in 2013 I proposed the same thing, but it was denied by just one vote,” said Neill.

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Kiley and Neil say the bylaw would come into effect in mid-2020 if approved. According to the two councillors, if business owners were to break the bylaw, they would receive a warning, and if caught again having open windows or doors while the air-conditioner is running, they would face a penalty.

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This potential strict enforcement is not something that a downtown business owner is opposed to.

“I agree that we should be more cautious,” said Sherri Dadmand, the owner of I mode clothing store on Princess Street. “As an owner, I never leave my door open because it wastes energy and money.”

Dadmand says her store experiences more traffic and revenue throughout the summer months, and because of this, she looks to save money for the slower times throughout the year.

“I like to save money, and one way I’ve been doing it is by conserving my air conditioning by having all doors closed,” said Dadmand.

WATCH: (March 6, 2019) Kingston city council declares climate emergency

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Kingston city council declares climate emergency – Mar 6, 2019

For one coffee shop in the heart of Kingston, the buidling is designed to have its two large bay windows open during the summer. For the employees, they don’t have the option of air conditioning, but they say having a store open and visible to the public attracts business.

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“When the doors are open it does bring a lot more customers because they get to enjoy the ambience and look at Market Square, but when the doors are open, it gets really hot in here,” said Quinn Solar a barista for Kingston Coffee House.

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According to Kiley, he has researched other communities who have implemented similar campaigns, like London, England and Toronto, and he hopes his research will entice his fellow councillors to push this bylaw forward.

“By shutting doors and windows, it doesn’t actually lead to a decrease in business,” Kiley explained. “Business stays the same and saves up to 20 per cent of energy used in a community, and that would be massive for our greenhouse gas reduction.”

In March, Kingston became the first municipality in Ontario to declare a climate emergency, and for Kiley, this bylaw is just one way of addressing it. He’s willing to compromise with local businesses if they are concerned.

“We can consider dropping other fees, patios fees, increasing signage for welcoming people in once they have to close their doors and windows once this bylaw is passed,” said Kiley.

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