Mar
10
2007

Lose some sleep, save some energy

Time to save energy: The primary object of Daylight Savings Time, which kicks in this weekend about a month earlier than usual, is to save electricty by having the sun shining during times that people are more active.
Time to save energy: The primary object of Daylight Savings Time, which kicks in this weekend about a month earlier than usual, is to save electricty by having the sun shining during times that people are more active.
Remember…tonight is the night to set your clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time (DST). We’re springing ahead even earlier this year due to a law Congress passed in 2005 with a goal of saving even more energy through the annual ritual of daylight savings time.

The custom used to be that we’d turn our clocks ahead the first weekend of April and turn them back in mid-October. With the new regulations, we’ll be springing ahead earlier (early March) and falling back later (early November).

How does DST save energy?

It all has to do with when the sun rises and sets. As we move toward the spring equinox, the amount of daylight is getting longer each 24 hours. Without DST, we’d have sunrises as early as 5 a.m. during the prime sunshine months. So back in 1918, Congress passed the first DST law with the reasoning of why not shift sunrise back an hour and give people more sunshine during the time they’re up and about.

How much of a difference does it make? Actually not a lot. The lessened need to turn on home lights saves only about 1 to 2 percent of the usual electricity consumption. But over the course of years and years, that can add up to some significant savings.

The other twist this year, which is getting most of the media attention, is that a lot of electrical gadgets that have clocks in them aren’t programmed for this earlier change to DST

Personally, I love having daylight stretch later into the day. But I know a lot of farmers aren’t keen on the idea. What do you think about DST? Share your comments here with other Science Buzz readers.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

There's a long discussion of DST elsewhere on this site.

The concerns of farmers were dealt with here.

posted on Sun, 03/11/2007 - 6:46pm

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