Saturday, March 13, 2010

Turn your clocks ahead tomorrow--to spend even more on energy

A friendly public-service reminder from And Sometimes Tea: set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!

Otherwise, you'll either be a whole hour late for the 9 a.m. Mass, or really early for the 11.

I wrote what I think about DST here and here. Now, there's evidence that DST doesn't really save us any money, anyway:
Once a year, Americans all over the country turn their clocks forward one hour -- an annual ritual called Daylight Saving Time that's supposed to save them money by using less energy.

Except it doesn't. The move to Daylight Saving actually used 1 percent more electricity than if people stuck to Standard Time, according to a 2008 study or residents in Indiana. In other areas of the United States, the time change could cost people even more. [...]

During the colder months of Daylight Saving, Indiana residents turned up the heat because they were getting up an hour closer to the coldest part of the night, the researchers found. In the summer months, they cranked up the air-conditioner because they were getting home an hour closer to the hottest part of the day.

The extra electricity cost for Daylight Saving: $3.29 per Indiana household per year or $9 million for the state as a whole. The state lost another $1.7 million to $5.5 million in pollution-related social costs, the researchers estimate.

Those extra costs could be even more pronounced in southern states, where the demand for air-conditioning is higher, according to the study's authors, Matthew Kotchen, a professor of environmental economics at Yale, and Laura Grant, a doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

So, we put people through this nonsense of clock-turning twice a year to save energy that doesn't end up being saved in the least, and for what?

I think it's high time we ended Daylight Saving Time.

But, for tomorrow, set that energy-wasting clock ahead one hour.


Muscovite said...

... except that here in North Idaho, daylight would start peeping in our window at 2:45, instead of 3:45 a.m. in the middle of the summer. I'm an early riser, but I definitely need my share of beauty sleep!

Anonymous said...

Here in Indiana, the 'dirty deed' was done to change to DST as one of the first thing on the newly elected governor's agenda in 2005, and I'm not seeing too much difference. Before, some of the northern and southwestern areas were on different zones, but also either did or did not change with DST. Technically everything changed some way or another in 2005 and I think the change was called DST but still to this day parts of Indiana are on Central Time and the other part Eastern time, but twice a year it's all mixed up again. When I travel to another job site in Illinois or Indiana I still have to call my destination to make sure I know what time zone I'll be in when I arrive. It's annoying to remember to consider the time when making travel plans, whether to fly out of Indianapolis or O'Hare.

To tell the truth, I don't know if it makes a difference or not, since I'm a night shift worker and have all sense of time and circadian rhythms turned around, anyway. The closer to the equator, the less difference it makes anyway, so wonder if it makes as much sense for Texas as northern Montana--not that it probably makes that much difference to cattle ranchers.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

There are times of the year when DST actually works -- it shifts daytime from the early morning hours, when we are all asleep, to evening hours that are actually before most people's bedtime. More or less mid-May to late August.

This early and late craze was typical Washington addiction to making grand gestures that accomplish nothing. This early in the year, there aren't enough hours of daylight to redistribute. What we gain in the evening, we lose in the morning. Thus, there is no saving of energy. But if you are in congress, no matter what party you belong to, you can pretend you are Getting Something Done.