Noise pollution signPhoto: Carol LinWe’re big fans of anything that saves energy while generally improving your life — biking, for instance, or gardens. So we were psyched to hear that malls could save 1.18 gigawatt-hours of energy every year, and cut back 3,000 metric tons of CO2, just by turning off the Muzak.

Enterprising Stanford students crunched the numbers on how much energy it takes to play all that pop and came up with a figure of 1.18 gigawatt-hours. Given the present energy mix that means Mantovani adds more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year.

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In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t giant, but it’s the definition of a win-win. Malls save the energy equivalent of 107 homes every year, and you don’t have to listen to a synthesizer version of “King of Pain.”

Malls are giant energy hogs in general, especially their temperature control and lighting — plus of course they’re the very face of sprawl. Down with malls in general, we say, or at least down with malls in many instances! But while we’re working on the dense living revolution, malls could at least mitigate their outsize environmental impact (and be more tolerable to spend time in) by switching to efficient light bulbs and getting rid of the shitty pop.

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