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Does Daylight Saving Time Really Cut Down On Our Energy Bills?


DST-590x330For most states in the U.S., except Hawaii and Arizona, daylight saving time (DST) was officially over this weekend. The clocks went one hour back, meaning we not only get one hour extra sleep in the morning, but we also get a bit more light.

The whole concept of changing time was initially introduced to save energy, but very often we are not really aware whether it actually works, and when it all started.

The background. People first began talking about such concept back in the late 1700s, when Benjamin Franklin proposed a similar energy saving strategy in France. Unfortunately, back then no one took the proposal seriously, and it was only spoken of 100 years later in England and New Zealand.

Despite all this, however, the first country to really introduce DST in order to reduce excessive energy consumption, was Germany, and they did that during the First World War. The U.S. was quite far behind, although they briefly tested the concept during the First and the Second World Wars in some states. Officially it was approved only in 1966, when the Congress passed the Uniform Time Act.

According to some recent estimates of the Department of Energy, in four weeks, which by the way is the period of extension of the original DST introduced a few years ago, the U.S saved the incredible 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours of energy per year. In other words, with each day of DST, the energy consumption is reduced by 0.5%.

Some studies, however, suggest the opposite. They do not argue that the one hour of extra natural light decreases the use of artificial light, but rather they claim that the energy saved here is compensated with extra use of air-conditioning.

Apparently, the general public is also not very supportive of DST. People commonly find it a nuisance that they have to deal with twice a year and do not particularly see any benefit from it.

But what do you think?

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