Sunday, November 22, 2009

Apple needs to close the door on global warming

Walking past Apple Computer's flagship store in George Street Sydney on Friday, I was hit by an uncomfortable blast of icy air. The doors to the store had been left open and refrigerated air was flowing out and into the very hot street. Apart from making it unpleasant for passers-by this is wasting energy and contributing to global warming. Apple's Sydney store has a similar design to Apple's Fifth Avenue Store in New York, about which similar energy use concerns have been raised. Apple needs to provide doors on its store to keep the air in. Otherwise this detracts from Apple's good record on energy saving.

Keeping the air in while welcoming customers can be difficult. This can be a problem in older buildings as well as new. Yesterday I noticed one solution at the National Innovation Centre, at the Australian Technology Park while at "Startup BarCamp Sydney". This building was part of the historic Eveleigh Railway Workshops. The building has large brick arched entrance, which could not be made airtight on the outside without detracting from the historic look of the building. Instead the a large glass wall has been built inside the entrance. From the outside the glass is not noticeable.

Apple could consider this approach building a glass box inside the doors of its store (which in itself is a large glass box). The inner wall created could have self closing or revolving doors.

While smaller historic buildings could not afford the space that ATP and Apple have, they could consider a similar approach by leaving the wood door open and using a modern glass one to close the entrance for air-conditioning, while retaining an open look for customers. There are detailed guides to making historic buildings energy efficient.

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