Is Daylight Saving Time Helping You Save on Energy?

Is Daylight Saving Time Helping You Save on Energy?

Spring forward as daylight saving time is upon us once again, a sign of spring, brighter days and a lost hour of sleep. Whether you love or hate this yearly ritual, changing our clocks supposedly helps us save on energy and money, but how much of it is truly in our favor?

History of Daylight Saving Time

  • In 1916, Germany became the first country to adopt daylight saving time to conserve energy and resources for World War I. 
  • The United States followed by adding daylight savings and did so again in World War II. After the war, states began to implement their own daylight savings schedules, but this ultimately just made it more confusing. 
  • The Uniform Time Act of 1966 brought a uniform standard of time across the U.S. It would spring forward on the last Sunday of April and fall back on the last Sunday of October. 
  • In 2007, the dates were then changed again to keep the duration of daylight savings consistent at 34 weeks. Now, it begins on the second Sunday of March until the first Sunday of November. 
  • While most of the United States follows this yearly time change, not all states do. This includes Hawaii and Arizona (excluding Navajo Nation) along with U.S. territories like American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Facts

The Pros Nationwide 

  • The first deep look into daylight savings was during the Arab oil embargo in 1973-1974. The Department of Transportation found daylight savings had decreased the U.S.’s electrical load by a total of 1% nationwide.
  • In 2008, the October report to Congress revealed having an extra four weeks of daylight actually saved .5% of the nation’s electricity per day or 1.3 trillion watt-hours in residential and commercial electricity. That’s enough to power 100,000 households for a year!

The Cons Region by Region

  • In 2006, a study in Indiana showed a 1% increase in residential electricity. This ended up costing the state an extra $9 million. Although the bright evenings had less of a need for household lighting, the hot summer nights called for AC and the cool fall mornings demanded for heat. 
  • During the 2000 Olympics, Australia incorporated daylight savings as well, but only in certain parts of the country. The regions with extended daylight used less lighting and electricity in the evening. But just like in Indiana, there was an increased use of electricity in the dark mornings which canceled out the benefits.

It’s Controversial

It goes without saying that there are not only mixed feelings about daylight savings, but mixed results. The fact lighting also has grown more energy efficient compared to heating and cooling systems also has an affect. The pros and cons can ultimately depend on where you live in the U.S. and its climate. There’s bound to be more need for AC in the hot and sunny south compared to up north. States like Florida are pushing for The Sunshine Protection Act, which is a bill to make daylight savings permanent. 

Where We Can Help

If you’re interested in saving your energy beyond the varied results of daylight savings, contact City Power and Gas. City Power and Gas can provide you with environmentally friendly energy for a cost-effective price you would feel good about.  

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