Have you ever wondered why on earth we have to change our clocks twice a year? Do you look forward to gaining an hour in the fall, but dread the losing an hour in the spring? Perhaps you look forward to having the extended periods of sun in the evening and are embracing the change this weekend. Whether you are a lover or a hater of Daylight Savings Time, it is upon us. This weekend, Sunday March 11, 2012 at 2:00am we will set our clocks ahead by one hour as Daylight Savings Time in the U.S. officially begins. Continue reading to learn why we do this in the first place, and is it really worth it?
The Beginning of Daylight Savings Time
Daylight Savings Time was initially thought up by our dear old friend, Benjamin Franklin. He was the man who coined the term “early to bed, early to rise.” His thinking that rising before the sun would make us more productive, initiated the concept of Daylight Savings Time. The concept was first adopted by the Germans during World War I in an effort to conserve coal for their war efforts. The US implemented DST in 1918, but made it a mandatory practice during WWII. In fact, from 1942-1945 DST was a year round practice. At the end of WWII DST returned to it’s “standard.” Throughout history since WWII there have been periods of extensions in the country’s effort to conserve energy, but in 2005 an Energy Policy Act was passed mandating a month long extension DST every year beginning in 2007.
Are We Really Saving Energy?
The long and short of it, is that Daylight Savings Time is the country’s effort to conserve energy by reducing the electrical load or output, if you will, for a period of time. The jury is still out on whether we do in fact “save energy” during this time. There are studies that suggest that the energy that we would have normally been consuming in the evening hours is swapped out and being used in the darker morning hours under DST, which in turn, wipes out any net gains that we should see. Other studies suggest that energy consumption in the morning hours is far less than that of what is consumed during the evening hours under DST, which has offered up an estimated .002% reduction in the electrical load. There are several factors that come into play when attempting to determine the success that DST offers, but the primary component in all of these studies is location, location, location. The impact that weather has on energy consumption is far greater than any other influence, therefore warmer climates will show different energy usage than cooler climates, at any point of the year, especially during that of DST.
Which Side Are You On?
Some people say that Daylight Savings Time is a means to save energy, promote a healthy active lifestyle by getting people outside and the start of a new season. Some people just look forward to the extra hour of sleep in the fall or the extra sunlight in the spring. I know myself, I love gaining the hour in the fall, but I also look forward to the lighter hours in the evening during the spring as well. Throughout the year, regardless of DST or not, I make every best effort to reduce my energy consumption, as we all should (if not for anything else, the sanctity of our wallets)!
In this instance, I would have to say, I take a neutral stance.
What about you? Are you a lover or a hater of DST? Let us know your thoughts and why. And of course, if you have any questions on how to save energy (aside from changing that clock over) give your favorite local electrician a call.
Kenny Corrao, Owner
Corrao Electric Co., Inc.