Daylight-Saving Time, does it really "save"?

Wanda Holderman: March 06, 20080 Comments

Well, traditional wisdom and logic would lead us to reason that daylight-saving time, which begins March 9th, does reduce energy consumption. But an exceptional situation in Indiana provides evidence challenging that view....."springing forward" may actually cause an increased use of energy!

Most of Indiana (until 2 years ago), did not set their clocks for daylight-saving time as the rest of the U.S. The University of California Santa Barbara conducted a study to look at affects of the time-shift on energy use. They compared usage before and after the entire state adopted the time change. This is what they found: the time change resulted in an incremental $8.6 million in electricity bills....mmmmmm. How could that be? Well, they concluded that during daylight-saving time, air conditioners were run more frequently for the hot afternoons (when folks were getting home an hour earlier) and there was increased use of heating in the wee hours of the morning (when folks got up an hour earlier).  There was some savings that would have normally been spent on lighting homes, but certainly not enough to mitigate the increased usage of heating and cooling.

The researchers also noted that there may be some "social" benefits from daylight-saving time when there is extended daylight....maybe less crime, fewer traffic problems, and more recreation resulting in economic activities.

Oh well, remember to "spring forward" this weekend (especially for me so I'm not late for my flight to Chicago on Sunday), don't be late to work, and enjoy having longer days. Take some long overdue evening walks (remember C-fit), ride your bike, do some gardening, visit with the neighbors (you know, like Mr. Rogers would want us to do), and watch the sunset. Okay, so I'm getting a little sentimental. I love it when it stays light well into the evening (otherwise, I want to go to bed when it gets dark! hehe).