Tuesday, February 22, 2011

About Daylight saving time

The Wikipedia page lists some studies, but I find this one most revealing:

A 2008 study examined billing data in Indiana before and after it adopted DST in 2006, and concluded that DST increased overall residential electricity consumption by 1% to 4%, due mostly to extra afternoon cooling and extra morning heating; the main increases came in the fall. The overall annual cost of DST to Indiana households was estimated to be $9 million, with an additional $1.7-5.5 million for social costs due to increased pollution.

There may be benefits to DST, but DST does not save energy, one of the original arguments for DST.

Keep in mind, the main purpose of DST is to get people up earlier in the morning so that they don't waste that daylight. People are used to getting to work/school by some set time, say 8 AM. If you told them that in the summer, they had to get to work/school by 7 AM, even though they could leave an hour earlier, most people would balk. But if you tell them that 7 AM is really 8 AM, they don't seem to have any problem, and they'll happily go along with it.

Now, maybe it's easier to just redefine the hours of the day this way than having different schedules for winter and summer months. Lots of people are easily confused by time, and changing your clocks is a one time event, then everything else is "normal." I do find it humorous that people like to keep this convenient fiction, though. If we never had DST and someone proposed it, I think most people would find it ridiculous. But since most people have done it all their life, it's just what we do in the spring and fall (and they think that places that don't do it are somehow backwards and wrong). Just a matter of perspective, I guess.


No comments:

Post a Comment