Is This The Real Reason Mall Stores Are So Freezing?

Photo: Photo: Paul Brown/REX USA.
If you've ever found yourself wandering around the mall, cursing yourself for not bringing a jacket and wondering why the air conditioning is cranked up to Arctic levels (regardless of the weather outside), you're not alone. Now, there's finally an explanation as to why malls insist on keeping the temperatures so low. Found in a new book entitled The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun, the answer may surprise you. 

As Complex reports, Hong Kong is home to the chilliest malls in the world, with indoor temps averaging a frigid 59 degrees. It’s a deliberate choice, because many believe that cold temperatures make the atmosphere more stylish. Author Ewan Rambourg told the site, "In Hong Kong, freezing is good."

He further explained that blasting AC is “chic, it’s luxury, it’s a sign of wealth." In fact, it’s so chilly, many Chinese shoppers tote along an “indoor jacket,” which they wear for this very purpose. And, not surprisingly, this extravagant use of air-conditioning translates to harmful effects on the environment. Complex states that Hong Kong malls make up 30% of the city's energy use in the winter (which increases to 60% in the summer). 

Although this effect has translated overseas (Dubai just built the largest climate-controlled mall in the world), some malls are slowly making changes. For example, the Mall of America uses solar energy to keep its temperatures at a comfortable 70 degrees year-round. And in 2008, New York City passed a law requiring its retail stores to close their doors when using air conditioning (although many shops openly flout the rule). Here's hoping more malls follow in these greener footsteps — for both the shoppers' and the environment's sake. (Complex)
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