Stories tagged daylight savings

Mar
10
2007

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.

Jul
28
2005

A part of the energy bill currently up for a vote amends the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to extend standard daylight time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. Currently standard daylight time runs from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. This will reduce daylight savings time (DST) by four weeks beginning in 2007 if the Department of Energy verifies research that shows the cut would save energy.

The main purpose of DST is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. The Department of Energy says the extra daylight in the evening will help America use less electricity for lighting and appliances. Studies done by the U.S. Department of Transportation in the past show that DST does reduce the country's electricity usage by a small amount. Business owners and sporting groups support the plan saying it would increase retail sales and participation in outdoor activities. Canada is closely watching this measure in the energy bill, and will likely change their DST to match the U.S.

Several groups are opposed to the plan. Airlines are concerned that a change of DST in North America would result in international schedules to become further out of sync with Europe and the rest of the world. The National PTA also is against the extension because it will result in more kids going to school in the dark, creating increased safety risks. The International Association of Fire Chiefs also opposes the extension, as they sponsor the program that encourages homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks. A longer DST may result in dead batteries in smoke detectors.

What do you think? Should DST be extended?