January - The doorway to the rest of the year.

Normally, I’d say I didn’t have a clue about Roman mythology. Ask me about Mars, Mercury or Venus and I’ll tell you they’re planets, and the first thing I think of when I think of Gladiators is the popular 90’s TV show.

So I was interested to realise that the answer to ‘6 across: Which Roman god is the month of January named after’ on my crossword the other day, was a mythical character called Janus.

After a little more digging I found that as well as being known as the god of endings and new beginnings, Janus was also the god of doorways and transitions, with January being the doorway to the rest of the year. The two-headed lord was said to have had the power to convert cold water from the top of the mountains to scorching hot springs when in rage, and the thought of this instant temperature transition made me think of the hot air curtains in shop doorways across the country during the January sales this month.

Shops opened their doorways for the sales as soon as Boxing Day dawned, and quite rightly many retailers have made sure their shoppers are greeted with a comforting blast of hot air as they enter into their stores.

An energy efficient air curtain, over entrances frequently opened and exposed to outside temperatures, can really help to manage the energy being used in a building. They can help to reduce the amount of warm air escaping the building in the winter and keeps cool air in during the summer.

Retailers must remember however that, if not positioned correctly, an air curtain can become a costly and ineffective expense. Most shoppers in winter also continue to wear outside clothing when in-store, so if outside temperatures are not regularly monitored and reacted to then the store environment is in danger of being too uncomfortable to make customers stay.

A simple way to manage this, as well as ensuring efficient in-store HVAC operation in general, is to use an intelligent Building energy Management System (BeMS) like t-mac which reacts to outside temperatures, makes sure you are informed of any areas where energy is being ‘leaked’ unnecessarily and ensures air-conditioning and heating systems are not working against each other.

Our main message to retailers this busy season is to be AWARE of the energy you are using and make sure you REACT to any inefficiencies.

Unlike Janus, if you keep calm and keep in control, the savings you make in the transition from cold to comfort will become the stuff of legends!