History of Daylight Saving Time: Why do we Spring forward?

Daylight Saving TimeHISTORY OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

It seems like only yesterday that we discussed the end of Daylight Saving Time, or DST, a brilliant campaign to convince people that we’re getting more daylight each day when in reality we’ve simply changed our clocks and then forgotten about it within two weeks. Actually, it was only back in November, or 4 months ago.

Recent Changes

Indeed, the new rules for DST that began in 2007 meant an extra four or five weeks of DST each year. There are now a total of 238 days of DST, compared to the total of 210 days of DST back in 2006 under the previous rules. This means the U. S. remains on DST for about 65% of the year. So if you think about it, DST will be in effect for most of the year, Standard time is no longer the standard. It might be more significant to recognize Daylight Losing Time.

Starting

DST begins each year at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March in most of the United States and its territories. However there are some places that have not bought into this campaign. It is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands nor the state of Arizona except for the Navajo Indian Reservation, which does observe DST. You can read my original full article that discusses Ben Franklin’s involvement here.

Now: an answer to the age-old question

“Does DST actually save energy?”

Energy Savings?

A Department of Energy study was released in early November 2008 showing that Daylight Saving Time does in fact save energy.

  • The total electricity savings of Extended Daylight Saving Time were about 1.3 Tera Watt-hour (TWh). This corresponds to 0.5 percent per each day of Extended Daylight Saving Time, or 0.03 percent of electricity consumption over the year. In comparison, the total 2007 electricity consumption in the United States was 3,900 TWh.
  • In terms of national primary energy consumption, the electricity savings translate to a reduction of 17 Trillion Btu (TBtu) over the spring and fall Extended Daylight Saving Time periods, or roughly 0.02 percent of total U.S. energy consumption during 2007 of 101,000 TBtu.

How much again? We’re talking two one-hundredths of a percent annual energy consumption reduced!

How will you spend this energy savings?

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
www.billpetro.com

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3 comments… add one
  • Bill,

    I’ve enjoyed your succinct explanations for years.

    P.S. Please don’t think badly of me for continuing to use AOL. If you must banish me from your cyber sphere, I’ll understand.

    Reply
  • SO…. I went out and found a Forbes article listing the average price of energy and they quoting reliable sources estimated $23.31 per Million BTUs as the cost of Electricity. If I plug in your numbers of 17 Trillion BTU saved (17,000 million – check my math please) I get $447.2k in savings….I think the disruption alone in computer programming, reminders announcements everywhere, etc. easily eats that up… I think I will vote to pick one time and stick with it… OR if “they” would like to give me the “savings,” I would consider maintaining the insanity.

    Reply
    • Tom,

      I think you’re on to something there :-)

      -Bill

      Reply

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