Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday-embrace it if you must, but don't say it saves energy

Another report says we end up using too much energy because of the time difference:

Now, the Department of Energy did release a report last fall that says, no, no.  Daylight Saving Time does save a tiny amount of energy.

  • The total electricity savings of Extended Daylight Saving Time were about 1.3 Tera Watt-hour (TWh). This corresponds to 0.5 percent per each day of Extended Daylight Saving Time, or 0.03 percent of electricity consumption over the year. In reference, the total 2007 electricity consumption in the United States was 3,900 TWh.

  • In terms of national primary energy consumption, the electricity savings translate to a reduction of 17 Trillion Btu (TBtu) over the spring and fall Extended Daylight Saving Time periods, or roughly 0.02 percent of total U.S. energy consumption during 2007 of 101,000 TBtu.

Oh, and I just trolled around the Internet and found another study debunking energy savings, this from some researchers at UC-Santa Barbara.  (by the way I re-watched the film Closer on HBO the other night, the 2004 adaptation from the British play from years earlier.  The language employed by Julia Roberts, talking about  "The 'net'" sounded so dated).

Anyway, as a runner who hits the streets at 6 a.m. in sometimes less than ideal street lighting, I'd prefer we begin DST back like we did prior to 2007.  Many others probably dig the fact that it will be darker later.  That's beautiful.  But don't tell us it's better because we're 'saving energy', because that theory, as hopefully we've shown, is highly suspect.

You will be reminded over the next couple of days to move your clocks forward an hour beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.  What that means is that this coming Monday morning, your colleagues at work maybe a little less chipper than usual around the proverbial water cooler, or wherever one congregates with colleagues.

That's because unless you're attending church or some other function early Sunday, losing that hour of sleep hits most of us powerfully on Monday morning.  We've had Daylight Saving on a national basis since 1966, but only in the past four years have we had an extra month of it - but the reasoning is bogus.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 declared that beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time (and that's the correct phrase, not "savings") would begin three weeks earlier, or the second Sunday in March, and last an extra week longer in the fall, or first Sunday in November.

The reason, we were told at the time, was that it would save energy, with the extra hour of natural daylight.  Forgetting the fact that many people work, and must get up and turn on a light in the morning, that premise has proven to be erroneous.

The California Energy Commission studied this and concluded:

"The extension of Daylight Saving Time (DST) to March 2007 had little or no effect on energy consumption in California, according to a statistical analysis. The most likely approximation is a 0.2% decrease during these three weeks. Given the natural variation in consumption, however, the margin of electricity use change associated with early DST could have been one and a half percent of increase or decrease without such effects showing up statistically. Formally, weather- and lighting-corrected savings from DST were estimated at 0.18% with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 1.5% savings to a 1.4% increase."

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.