Daylight saving time 2011 happens at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13. While may enjoy the extra hour of daylight in the evening, the time change has a bigger purpose. The brainchild of Ben Franklin, daylight saving time was originally created over one hundred years ago to increase hours of sunlight for more time to work and play outdoors. Today daylight saving time is used to conserve energy, but does it really work?
Does Daylight Saving Time Really Save Time or Energy?
Is daylight saving time 2011 really worth it? National Geographic reports Hendrik Wolff of the University of Washington co-wrote a government paper studying power-use data in Australia when the country extended daylight saving time for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Evening lighting consumption was reduced by the gain was wiped out but the use of energy in the dark mornings.
Another study in Indiana revealed while use of artificial lights decreased, there are increased air-conditioning use again. Once again, the gains were a wash according to research lead by Matthew Kotchen of the University of California for the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2008.
Wolff's study revealed Hoosier consumers paid more on electric bills than before making the yearly switch to daylight saving time. The evenings remained hot in the ongoing daylight and Wolff said, “So if people get home an hour earlier in a warmer house, they turn on their air conditioning.”
Wolff further indicated savings would depend on your location in the United States and how hot it is, stating, “The North might be a slight winner because the North doesn't have as much air conditioning. But the South is a definite loser in energy consumption. The South has more energy consumption under daylight saving.”
Health concerns including sleep deprivation and heart risks have are other reasons why people are questioning the need for daylight saving time 2011.
Daylight Saving Time Savings According to Uncle Sam
According to Media-Newswire, the government indicates the ritual is worthwhile. Rep. Edward J. Markey, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said, “We can't put a price on the happiness an extra hour of sunshine can bring, but we can count the savings. Government analysis has proven that extra sunshine provides more than just smiles. Daylight Saving Time saves consumers money and also curbs the nation's energy consumption, which means lower energy bills, less pollution and more reasons to enjoy the outdoors”
Rep. Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “Between energy conservation, lower bills and fewer traffic accidents, the benefits of extending Daylight Saving Time are many – not to mention the additional hour of sunshine in the evening will help chase away the winter blues.”
Extended Daylight Saving Time
Markey and Upton amended the Uniform Time Act of 1996 as part of the 2005 Energy Bill and they co-authored the extension of the program. They changed the start date from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday in March. Fall was also shifted with the end date changed from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November.
A 2008 Department of Energy report evaluating the program found total electricity savings as a result of Extended Daylight Saving Time were around 1.3 Tera Watt-hour, a reduction of 0.5 percent per individual, per day. The savings represent reduced oil use of 2.9 million barrels and electricity savings of about $498 million. Small increases in use occur during early morning hours with saving happening in the evening.