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Monday, March 21, 2011

Green peeve 1: Staggered automatic doors.

I know I'm critical of a lot of things. Mac n Cheese, shopping malls, plasma TVs, my school's English book, and all that stuff. However, I do make an effort to be constructive, to do more analyzing and informing than complaining. That is, until today.

Because, even though I know useless complaints about tiny details won't get anyone anywhere, sometimes it just feels good.

So here's one thing that's been pissing me off lately:

Homeplus (basically a Korean Walmart, owned about 20% by Korea's Samsung and 80% by England's TESCO, or so I hear), being a gigantic store, has gigantic entrances. Whether for fashion or insulation or some other purpose, the entrances always have two layers of doors. That is, you pass through the first set into a sort of antechamber, and then, after about two or three more meters, you pass through another set and into the store proper. Maybe because doors are difficult to open, or because shoppers are too exhausted after agonizing over which of the seven thousand varieties of Pringles they really want, or because touching things is dirty, some of the doors are automatic.

But that's not the peeve. I have come to accept that there are a billion stupid, crappy, destructive things about the world that I will never be able to change. I just go about my business and avoid them as much as I can. Plain old automatic doors go into this category.

No, the problem is not with the doors themselves, per se. It's with their arrangement. Have a look at the diagram:

AAAAA:Automatic sliding door
/: Gap between doors
HHHHH: Hinge door
GGGGG: Glass plate. )

In an effort to use my body rather than electricity, I usually go in through the first set of HHHHH doors. Notice, though, that I can't continue straight through, because the next set of doors is AAAAA! For no good reason that I can think of, I am cornered into an environmentally unfriendly act, like when they drop two tiny, pointless strips of beef into the would-be-vegan soup at the faculty cafeteria. Of course, I can try to take the H-H diagonal path; but even then, it's hard to avoid tripping the A sensors across from me. Theoretically, it would be possible to enter at H, slink spy-style until the center of the G's, cut into the middle before I trigger the A's on the right hand side, and then pop in through the other set of H doors. But, in the real world, I'm already white, ponytailed, and usually wearing torn-up clothes appropriate for bicycle rides ( during which nobody will see me for more than about three seconds at a time). I don't need to appear any more freaksih by looking like I'm playing hide-and-seek (alone) in the store entrance.

Unable to realize my low-impact ambitions, I tend to opt for the freegan strategy: wait for someone who has no qualms about using AAAAA doors and the sneak in right behind them. Nice and close. Creepily so. Sure, I go through the door that I hate. But I don't cause it to open, and therefore don't contribute to any pointless use of fossil fuels. Just drafting, along for the ride.

Veritably, life is like a hornet's nest.

Does anyone else out there have any particularly peeving green peeves they just want to vent about? Or suggestions for me? Or other ways that you apply this dumpster-diving methodology to your life?


Dave said...

Nice post, Mike. I hope this becomes a recurring feature.

I can't recall seeing staggered automatic doors like that in the US, and have no idea what purpose they serve. It's odd to make someone who requires the doors for medical reasons zig and zag through an entry way.

I will add that the purpose of the vestibule between the two sets of doors is actually meant to help the environment (or at least save the building owner money): having at least one set of doors shut at all times (optimistic, I know) results in less heating loss (or cooling gain) from escaping the store (or cold/hot air from infiltrating the building). Anyway, if you accidentally trigger the automatic doors you should probably just jump inside, as opening the manual doors would only result in additional heat gain/loss. [What was I talking about again...?]

I'll post a green peeve as soon as one comes to mind.

thesnowleopard said...

I don't know this for sure, but I would be inclined to think that the door arrangement you described actually aids in lowering heating/cooling costs as Dave described. Maybe if all doors were manual, people would just prop them open and therefore let a continuous stream of heated air out of the building, or if all doors were automatic, the likelihood of both automatic doors being open at the same time would be high, and the same situation would occur.

Andy said...

It seems like this arrangement might be a good compromise in terms of energy used to open doors. There will always be automatic doors, and if they line those up 90% of people will use two sets of automatic doors. With this setup, I'm pretty sure practically everyone uses one manual and one automatic door. This results in nearly half the energy use for door opening and closing.

As for green peeves, there are too many to list. One of mine is everything having to do with paper towels. In fact, I think this might be the worst thing in the world: http://www.kleenex.com/HandTowels/
They're trying to replace wonderful cotton towels with horribly wasteful paper in the home. WTF?!?

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Good point, Andy.

I had never seen those ridiculous "hand towels" before. Give me a break.

That said, if I ever become rich, one of the first things I'll do is switch from standard toilet paper to moist baby wipes. I know it's not environmentally friendly, but if you're going to pamper one's self, why not start with the anus?

Dave said...

BTW - describing cotton towels as "wonderful" seems a little excessive. I mean, they're ok...

You've been reading too much Hitchhiker's Guide.

dent said...

HHGTTG for life!

Mike said...

All very interesting suggestions, though I'm inclined to think that there is no rhyme or reason to the whole thing. Some entrances are like I described, but then, there are other entrances of approximately the same dimensions that have two pairs of automatic doors, or even one giant pair, with no push doors at all.

So, while the various proposed theories about energy-saving do make sense, they're not implemented across the board, which makes it seem to me like they take back seat to other considerations - maybe cosmetic or circumstantial?

Paper towels are also a major green-peeve for me. And, worse, those hand blow-dryer things. I've been boycotting those for years now. After all, what are pants for?

wla said...

i think those doors were placed that way so that when diagrammed out, they spell the very reaction they elicit:


SandfordWrites said...

Those staggered doors always annoyed me. They are purely cosmetic and not necessary or helpful in anyway.

Dave said...

Completely unrelated, but an interesting image nonetheless (NSFW). Read a little bit about it here.