Monday, March 12

What is Daylight Saving Time Really Saving?

The Boston Globe created a multimedia illustration of why America's daylight savings time was 3 weeks early this year. The difference is not felt in the morning for most people but rather its benefits are based on the utility of having another hour of sunlight before darkness.

The LA Times has an article entitled "Daylight saving is just a waste of time, some say" in which the author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, Micheal Downing has this to say:

Most of the nation will turn its clocks ahead at 2 a.m. Sunday, three weeks earlier than usual. In November, the fallback is a week later than last year.

The idea: Align daylight hours with the time that most people are awake and reduce the need for artificial light.

"That was theory," Downing said. "It didn't work."

Human behavior gets in the way, he said. When the sun sets later, people do more outside the home. That usually means they get in the car and burn more gasoline, using as much energy in the long run as they would have if darkness had fallen earlier, said Downing, a Tufts University lecturer whose book "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time" was published in 2005.

"It has always been a beloved target for baseball and the golf and retail industries," he said. "People shop more after work if there are extra daylight hours."