Posted by: Ryan McDonald | March 10, 2008

Daylight WASTING time? Why time doesn’t equal money after all…

Time = Money

Yesterday we all lost an hour of our lives… No, not because of the extended version of House Party 3 on SpikeTV, but because of this oh-so-annoying phenomenon called DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME!

From the California Energy Commission’s website:

Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time is extended one month and begins for most of the United States at: 2 a.m. on the Second Sunday in March and lasts until 2 a.m. on the First Sunday of November.

So why do I have to get my lazy ass up for work and try to put my nine month old infant down to sleep an hour earlier than we’ve done the many many years prior? The same reason we do anything in this country: money.

The CEC again,

“In general, energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get up. Bedtime for most of us is late evening through the year. When we go to bed, we turn off the lights and TV. … Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that we trim the entire country’s electricity usage by about one percent EACH DAY with Daylight Saving Time.”

Wow! That’s great! We’ll be out of this recession in NO time with savings like that! We’ll be back to a bleary-eyed creditor nation full of cranky infants and coffee-guzzling drones. HeeeYaww!! Y’know what? Why not make it 11 months out of the year? I’ll buy stock in Starbucks and Guarana Farms so the country and myself will get rich! Sounds great don’t it? 1% energy savings each day? The only problem is that it’s not true.

Hendrik Wolff, an environmental economist at the University of Washington is quoted in a great National Geographic article about this odd thing called “research” that he decided to do about Daylight Saving Time and found that we’re not actually saving any energy at all.

“Basically if people wake up early in the morning and go to bed earlier, they do save artificial illumination at night and reduce electricity consumption in the evening. Our study confirmed that effect. But we also found that more electricity is consumed in the morning. In the end, these two effects wash each other out.”

Wow… Perhaps I was a little hasty with my 11 month savings time after all… But, if it’s not helping us too much, at least it isn’t hurting us, right? What’s that? There’s more of this “research” that proves that daylight saving time is wasting us time, sleep, energy and money? The hell!?

The state of Indiana’s been bucking the system and not falling prey to the Daylight Saving ploy… until now. You see, there’s no federal rule mandating that states observe daylight saving time, so for years only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties made the time switch. When the entire state adopted daylight saving time in spring 2006 all hell broke loose…

“Just in the state of Indiana, it turns out to be almost seven million dollars a year in increased residential electricity bills,” Kotchen said. “And that’s at a far lower price for electricity than the national average.”

The study found that daylight saving time did save on lighting use but that heating and air-conditioning use more energy than than they save.

“At least in southern Indiana, and probably in other places that have a similar climate, it’s resulting in an increase in residential electricity consumption. Our estimates range between one and four percent.”

So we’ve gone from using 1% less energy during daylight saving time to using 1% – 4% more energy instead.

So when you roll out of bed to change your toddler’s diaper at what is now 3am, get to work late because your old-ass computer didn’t update the clock automatically and spend an extra $5 on a tall mocha latte americano double shot with a twist of emo attitude, take solace in the fact that your VCR will always fight the good fight and continue to blink 12:00 no matter what the U.S. Congress or Best Buy‘s Geek Squad ever does.


  1. The twist of emo attitude always puts that mocha over the top, doesn’t it? Well, if switching the clocks isn’t going to get us out of the energy mess, perhaps Congress and The Bush Administration will consider a REAL energy policy. Like, say, money for green tech industries and mileage requirements on new cars that aren’t laughable (or weepable).

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