Daylight Saving Time: Actual Saving or Cost to You?

Daylight Saving Time, it seems that it comes earlier every year but I know that’s not really the way it is. That week or so right after the time changes always seems to get me a little bit off schedule ~ a little bit cranky. I don’t think I’m alone on that one either.  So I went back to look at Daylight Saving Time and got a little bit more understanding about what it is and what it is for. Funny thing is, it was actually created to save energy; primarily electricity. When it was first created the whole idea was that you wouldn’t need as much light and yes, it was primarily about lighting since it would be light longer during the day or into the evening. As it turns out, there is also extra cooling costs so that there really isn’t a big effect on energy usage either way.

According to There’s no proof daylight saving time saves electricity, so why do we even bother? “The idea behind daylight saving time is to cut back on residential electricity use, which is heaviest at night. By moving the clocks forward in the spring, human activity would start and end earlier, and when people returned to their still-sunny houses after work, they wouldn’t need to turn on the lights until an hour later than normal. The result? Energy savings.”

A couple of different studies report it a little bit differently but that’s the general idea that I am seeing with the reading I’ve done. Here are a couple of theories about why we still have Daylight Saving Time. Of course, there are proponents and opponents as is with everything. Those who want to keep Daylight Saving Time include retailers  and especially sports like golf. However, we spend a lot more time driving and shopping with Daylight Saving Time so we might save electricity however we use more fuel. Go figure. The people who it does seem to impact more include the farmers, recreational families and anybody else depending on the sun and sunlight for their living or recreation. They have something to say about it too. Climate differences seem to make some impact as well.

But there’s little empirical proof it actually works. “The primary justification for shifting the clock has always been to save energy. Benjamin Franklin floated the first germ of the idea in 1784, in a humorous essay written when he was an ambassador to France. Force people out of bed earlier, he wrote, and what “an immense sum . . . the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” The first countries to actually adopt the practice were World War I allies Germany and Austria, which enacted a “summer time” law in 1916 to conserve coal. America followed suit in 1918.”

“But the savings are illusory. Whatever energy is gained from less artificial lighting during the daylight saving months is more than lost by the increase in evening air-conditioner use, and by the boost in driving as motorists take advantage of postwork daylight to go out.”

I think the point of it is Daylight Saving Time maybe here to stay so we have to figure out ways to work with it in ways that do not to spend more energy, electricity and money when we are in Daylight Saving Time. Instead we should figure out how to use that extra daylight to get outside and enjoy being outdoors and maybe spend a little extra time doing some of the things we love outdoors. So whatever you choose happy Daylight Saving Time. For example, here are few ideas from

5 Ways You Can Spend the Extra Hour without Using Extra Oil or Electricity

1 comment… add one
Gary Steps March 13, 2015, 3:26 pm

Marla, actually, farmers are obvious to DST other than how the outside interacts with them. Farmers use every minute of sunlight they can, no matter what the clock says.

And I agree that any possible reduction in energy usage associated with the sun being up longer after normal working hours is overridden by human activities that eat up what little potential value may have been there.

We should abandon DST and let people and organizations choose to do what they want. But that would make sense. No chance of that happening.

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