Saturday, November 05, 2011

Does Daylight Saving Equal Energy Savings?

This article seems to be mistitled: Daylight Saving Time Ends This Weekend, and It’s Healthy. As one reads the article, the information presented seems to indicate the exact opposite, that the shift in the clocks can actually have detrimental bodily effects. So why this title?

The article quotes a study that shows that the change in time causes stress on the body. (Oh, like we need a study to show this?) The study further shows that the stress factors can last several days and for those who are already vulnerable from sleep deprivation that it can cause additional sleep deprivation that “can affect the cardiovascular system, leading the vulnerable to have heart problems in the days following Daylight Saving time changes.”

What was the title of this article again?

Oh! OK! The point is not that Daylight Saving Time is healthy, nor that changing the clocks is healthy, but that ending Daylight Saving Time is healthy. Changing the clocks is unhealthy. The alteration imposed by Daylight Saving Time is unhealthy. Not following Daylight Saving Plans is healthy.

Why didn’t they say that?

In the second half of the article it says the following:

Does Daylight Saving Equal Energy Savings?

The seven-month period of daylight saving time is mandated by governments — not biological clocks — which began implementing the time switch during World Wars I and II to save energy and resources for the war effort. From World War II until recently, daylight saving in the U.S. ran from April until mid-October.

But in 2007, Congress adjusted daylight saving time to begin three weeks earlier and end one week later, a move they hoped would help save energy. At the time, they pointed to the fact that longer daylight in the evening hours reduced people’s need to turn on lights in their homes at night.

Critics of the policy questioned the government’s decision, wondering whether people would simply turn on as many lights in the morning hours instead. In response, the Department of Energy studied the energy savings in 2008. They found that during daylight saving time, U.S. electricity use decreased by 0.5 percent per day, which added up to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, enough to power about 122,000 average U.S. homes for a year.

Now this seems to be a good representation of governmental studies and conclusions. The total amount of change in the electricity consumption data from 2007 to 2008 is 0.5 percent per day. The time frame has been extended by 4 weeks, changing the period over which the measurements will be taken, extending the time period to include more days when air conditioning will not be used, the BIG summertime cause of increased electricity consumption. Could FOUR weeks of days with customarily less energy consumption be a factor? Hmm? Moreover, 2008 had increases in energy costs. Many people set their summertime thermostat settings higher in order to save money on air conditioning costs. Could that have made a difference?

The total reduction was counted as one half of one percent! How can that tiny drop be assumed to have been from daylight saving time reductions. Do not the other factors also have to be weighed?

One half of one percent is not much savings anyway. Does such a tiny savings justify the inconveniences, even if the assumptions are found to be correct, even if the 0.5 percent is directly attributable to the adjustments to the clocks?

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