Should Daylight Saving Time be scrapped? (Survey)

harold Lloyd
Public Domain Harold Lloyd

This is a recycled and updated version of an earlier post. The survey has been reset to zero.

It's that time of year when we lose an hour of sleep and turn our clocks forward thanks to the introduction of Daylight Savings Time, which probably made a lot of sense back in 1916 when it started. A few years back, the transition to Daylight Saving Time happened on April 1st, so of course we calculated impact of an extra hour of sunlight had on the world and announced that ending DST could solve global warming.

TreeHugger Labs ran the numbers and has determined that If DST runs half the year for an hour a day, that is fully 1/48th of our total exposure to the sun that could be eliminated with the cancelling of Daylight Saving Time, almost 2% of solar heat gain annually.That's huge!

Time change/Screen capture

A surprising number of readers were convinced. In 2007 the Arkansas Democrat published a letter complaining about the earlier start of DST:

You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of sunlight would have on our climate. Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat.

Silliness aside, Brian Merchant looked at the issue and concluded that Daylight Savings Time actually increases electrical demand, as air conditioning has eclipsed lighting as the main use of electricity.

Brad Plumer in the Washington Post summarizes the effects of DST and quotes the same study Brian did, finding that DST increases energy consumption, can be bad for your health, has mixed effects on the economy:

Retailers love the extra sunlight — it means that there are more customers around who are willing to go out and shop. The all-powerful golfing industry is also a big fan, apparently. On the other hand, daylight saving can cut into sales for movie theaters and reduce the audience for prime-time television — people go out and enjoy the evening air instead of staring at screens inside.

Perhaps it's time to scrap Daylight Saving Time. What do you think?


Tags: Energy

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