Though leaving the doors of an air conditioned store open may provide pedestrians with needed relief, doing so is a violation of Local Law 38 of 2008. In an effort to become a greener city, the Department of Buildings enacted the local law prohibiting commercial establishments with over 4,000 square feet of retail or wholesale space from leaving doors ajar while air conditioning or central cooling systems are on. The reasoning behind the local law is that this practice can increase energy consumption by 20 to 25 percent according to the Long Island Power Authority. The only exceptions are when the doors are adjoining indoor and outdoor seating areas where food and beverages are served and in emergency situations. If the owners or lessees of the establishments do not comply with the local law, they will first receive a written notice of violation before they are liable for civil penalties for subsequent violations within 18 month periods.
Select areas in Brooklyn may now be permitted to create lawful cellar apartments.