For years, it's been illegal for large chain stores in NYC to throw open their doors to the elements while simultaneously blasting air conditioning and wasting electricity.

According to Local Law 38, which City Council legislators are now hoping to amend and strengthen, stores caught on a first open-door offense get away with a written warning. A further violation warrants a fine of $200, and that fine is doubled to $400 if a third violation is incurred in an 18-day period. But you wouldn't know it walking down Broadway in Soho.

A manager at Nine West told us in 2012 that the air conditioning "helps drive up traffic. It makes a big difference; it's more inviting." While a manager at Forever 21 shrugged that "[the doors are] open for marketing and to attract customers." Never mind our planet's increasingly bleak prospects, and the fact that commercial buildings are responsible for 29% of the city's greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department of Consumer Affairs issued only 489 warnings, and 32 fines, for the abuse of Local Law 38 between 2009 and 2014.

The DCA did its best to preach reason this summer, sending out 200 volunteers along 45 business corridors citywide to knock on (open) doors and encourage stores to heed the "environmental and financial impacts" of their stubborn best business practice. And today, the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee is holding its first hearing on Int. 850, which would expand the close-your-door law to apply to small stores under 4,000 square feet, and increase the fines for all violators: Starting June 1st of next year, small businesses would be fined $250 for a first violation, and $500 for second and subsequent violations. Chain stores would be slapped with $500 for the first violation, and $1,000 for all subsequent.

The law would also require chain stores to post notices encouraging good Samaritans to report noncompliance to 311, and would apply penalties for open windows, in addition to open doors.

While the council debates the fine print, and restaurants continue to boldly blast cold air from prominent corner storefronts while pleading "fan mode," your best bet is to keep reporting offending H&Ms, Aldos, and American Eagles to 311.