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D.C. Businesses Barred From Running A/C With Open Doors

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The District government is implementing fines to encourage business owners to use air conditioning more intelligently.
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The District government is implementing fines to encourage business owners to use air conditioning more intelligently.

The D.C. government will soon fine businesses that prop their doors open while running their air conditioners. Restaurants, hotels, and small shops are exempt under the measure — which was passed today by the DC Council.

The goal is to promote energy conservation during the summer.

Ward 2 council member Mary Cheh sponsored the bill. She says one study from New York  found that energy usage for businesses that used air conditioning while keeping the door open increased by 20 to 25 percent.

"This is a piece of legislation that could have a rather dramatic effect even though is seems small in the individual case," says Cheh.

The bill targets commercial office buildings and large retail stores. The fines start at $100, and increases for subsequent violations.

The measure is part of a broader package of environmental legislation. Another provision includes a property tax exemption for solar and co-generation energy systems.

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