We stopped at first to read the sign posted that said this particular store had been caught overcharging a customer: $7.50 above the marked prices for one receipt. Apparently there are law-enforcement stings for this, and when a store gets caught, they have to post the report in the window. (Kind of how restaurants that leave raw eggs at room temperature have to put a "B" on their window.)
But never mind that. The store was closed at 8PM when we walked by, and so all this light seemed to be a bit of a waste. Maybe they were using some sort of energy-efficient lights? Nope, seemed that all the spots were halogen (probably 40-60W apiece), so we stopped to take a few pictures of the spectacle.
And by now it seemed like really kind of embarrassing waste of energy.
Making a guess as to the number of fixtures, Lorna and I figured that this single store is using 10-20kW all the time, for an energy bill of maybe $1000-2000 per month. The average California resident averages <1kW.
But the cost of this electricity is also a job! They are spending enough on electricity every night to pay a half-time employee, per store.
To make this even better, I opened up Calculated Risk tonight, and found a "poor me" article about Pat Connolly, an executive vice president of Williams-Sonoma, wondering how in the world he will increase profitability.
Apparently, Williams-Sonoma is closing stores and strong-arming building owners to give them cheaper rents in order to save a little money.
But it doesn't take a Kyoto Protocol-sized effort to see a way to save a little more!
They could save quite a bit of money by turning off some lights. My hardware store even sells light switches for less than $7.50.