Home > Disturbing, Educational > Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says! Yeah…What else is new?

Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says! Yeah…What else is new?

After getting cranky over losing an hour of sleep last March, we revel in the ability to sleep in an extra hour this Sunday.

I know that here in America we are currently in the throes of debate on Government-run health care, but I think this study on Daylight savings time should cause us to learn a lesson in all this. That lesson that should be learned is that anytime you have a government or if you have any governing bodies forcing the masses to behave in a certain way or forcing the masses to buy into a certain mindset, you can guarantee that it will be a huge waste of energy, time and effort and especially a huge waste of money. And overall, it will leave any thinking, sane person to scratch his head and say “Why are we doing this?!?  This is stupid!!” Just some thoughts as we all fall back this weekend…

Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says

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By JUSTIN LAHART of The Wall Street Jounal

For decades, conventional wisdom has held that daylight-saving time, which begins March 9, reduces energy use. But a unique situation in Indiana provides evidence challenging that view: Springing forward may actually waste energy.

Up until two years ago, only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties set their clocks an hour ahead in the spring and an hour back in the fall. The rest stayed on standard time all year, in part because farmers resisted the prospect of having to work an extra hour in the morning dark. But many residents came to hate falling in and out of sync with businesses and residents in neighboring states and prevailed upon the Indiana Legislature to put the entire state on daylight-saving time beginning in the spring of 2006.

Clock Watching

Research on the impact of extending daylight-saving time across Indiana found:

  • Residential electricity usage increased between 1% and 4%, amounting to $8.6 million a year.
  • Social costs from increased emissions were estimated at between $1.6 million and $5.3 million per year.
  • Possible social benefits — enhanced public health and safety and economic growth — were not studied.

Indiana’s change of heart gave University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant a unique way to see how the time shift affects energy use. Using more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke Energy Corp.DUK +1.12% , covering nearly all the households in southern Indiana for three years, they were able to compare energy consumption before and after counties began observing daylight-saving time. Readings from counties that had already adopted daylight-saving time provided a control group that helped them to adjust for changes in weather from one year to the next.

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

“I’ve never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this,” says Mr. Kotchen, who presented the paper at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference this month.

A 2007 study by economists Hendrik Wolff and Ryan Kellogg of the temporary extension of daylight-saving in two Australian territories for the 2000 Summer Olympics also suggested the clock change increases energy use.

That isn’t what Benjamin Franklin would have expected. In 1784, he observed what an “immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” (Mr. Franklin didn’t propose setting clocks forward, instead he satirically suggested levying a tax on window shutters, ringing church bells at sunrise and, if that didn’t work, firing cannons down the street in order to rouse Parisians out of their beds earlier.)…

Read full article at: WSJ.com

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