On the 6th, in front of the F shoe store at Sinchon Station on Seoul Subway Line 2. Cold air from the air conditioner flowed in front of the store안전놀이터, where the 6m-wide windows were wide open. Customers passing by in the heat of over 32 degrees found a cool store. A shoe store employee said, “If you leave the door open, there will definitely be more customers coming in and out,” and “I always leave it open until closing time.”
In major commercial districts such as Myeong-dong and Sinchon in Seoul, it was found that the ‘open door cooling’ business, which turns on the air conditioner while leaving the door open, is repeated this year as well. After Corona 19, more and more stores are opening their doors and operating in the gaps in government crackdowns. On that day, the Korea Economic Daily coverage team toured 64 stores within 500m of Myeongdong Street near Myeongdong Station on Seoul Subway Line 4, and found that 54 stores (84.3%) were open and air-conditioned. In the Shinchon area, 22 out of 37 stores (approximately 60%) within 450 meters from Exit 1 of Sinchon Station to the main gate of Yonsei University have their doors wide open.
When I passed the door of a store selling clothes and cosmetics in Myeong-dong, I could feel the cold wind even in the middle of the street. When I went inside, I found that 4 to 8 air conditioners on each floor were in ‘full operation’. The wind from the air conditioner was so strong that the collar fluttered.
Merchants complain that after Corona 19, the floating population has decreased and they have no choice but to open and cool. Merchant A, who runs a clothing store in Sinchon, said, “In hot weather, you have to leave the door open so that passers-by look at the cool breeze.” said.
Even if the government resumes crackdowns, there were some merchants who said they would continue to open their doors and keep cooling them. After experiencing a blackout (large-scale power outage) in 2011, the government implemented an annual air conditioning crackdown to prevent power waste. However, with the spread of Corona 19, quarantine rules such as ventilation are becoming more important, so there has been no proper crackdown after 2020. Mr. B, who runs a cosmetics store in Myeong-dong, said, “There is a risk of high electricity bills and fines, but it is better than a decrease in sales.”
The energy wastage due to open door cooling is considerable. According to the Korea Energy Agency, the amount of electricity required during open-door cooling operations increased by about 1.4 times compared to closed-door cooling operations. The total electricity bill was found to be about 1.3 times higher.
Yoo Seung-hoon, a professor at Seoul National University of Science and Technology’s College of Creative Convergence, said, “Since commercial electricity is supplied at a price below the cost, people see air conditioning as a ‘reasonable choice’.” he advised.