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Does Daylight Savings Time Save Energy?

Clock for 401(e) blog


Daylight Savings Time occurred a couple of weekends ago. This means we lost an hour of our weekend, and had to spend some time either Saturday night or Sunday changing the clocks around the house. For many people, Daylight Savings Time is not their favorite time of the year, because it is hard to adjust to the time change or they just do not like losing an hour of their weekend. Others are just frustrated because they do not understand why we have Daylight Savings time.


Growing up, my parents told me that Daylight Savings Time began so that farmers could get an extra hour of daylight during the summer, which is a common thought among people. Daylight Savings Time originally began in World War 1 to save on Energy. However, the first to introduce Daylight Savings Time is believed to be by Benjamin Franklin, to save on candles and oils at night. In 2005, the Energy Policy Act added four weeks to Daylight Savings Time with the thought that it would save energy.


Does Daylight Savings Time actually save energy?


There are studies that show evidence that Daylight Savings Time does not save energy and in some cases actually uses more energy. However, many of these studies are done in warm climates where an extra hour of sunlight equals more air conditioning. Colder climates are better suited to save energy due to the fact that we use less air conditioning. Daylight Savings Time can also save energy when the weather starts to become nicer by allowing us an extra hour of sunlight after work that we can use to be outdoors and not inside using energy for lights or other electronics.


In 2008, there was a study done by the Department of Energy. In this study, they found that there would be an energy savings of 0.03% for the whole year. This seems small in percentage terms, but in absolute terms, it equals to a saving of 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, which is enough to power 122,000 average U.S. homes for a year.


If you are someone who despises Daylight Savings Time, try looking at it as an event that saves energy or an extra hour of sunlight that you can spend doing what you want when it gets to be nice out. By looking at Daylight Savings Time from this angle, it could be a more enjoyable time of the year.