Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Nothings

It's the Monday after Daylight Savings Time (DST) and I am exhausted. I hate DST. Although it didn't help I had to get up at 3:30 PDT (which would have been 4:30 PT) yesterday. And for those people who say they love daylight savings because they get an extra hour of daylight, I want to know what kind of math you were taught in school. If the sun rises and sets at a particular interval of time (given the variable of the time of the year), moving the clocks ahead or back will give you exactly the same amount of sunshine as before the time change. Blah blah blah about what time you get up.

And this whole thing about DST saving energy may be as effective as CFLs are at saving the environment [insert sarcasm here]. Well, okay, maybe daylight savings isn't as potentially harmful to people (when broken), but it doesn't eliminate the fact that many studies have shown that DST actually increases the use of energy.

I bet there are still people who don't know that the concept of DST was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin during a visit to Paris, as a satire. He wrote that fewer candles would be used if people got up earlier and went to bed earlier. There have been studies over the years about whether DST is truly energy saving and most conclusions have been no, some even saying that DST ends up costing more. In particular, a study by the University of California Santa Barbara found that DST increases energy use. It was based on a study of households in Indiana. Indiana DST estimated that the state’s residents would save over $7 million in electricity costs each year. Since the switch, researchers have found Indianans actually spent $8.6 million more each year because of DST, and increased emissions came with a social cost of between $1.6 million and $5.3 million per year.

Why? Some theorize that home air conditioning has caused the increase due to more daylight toward the end of a summer’s day that causes people to more likely turn on their air conditioners when they come home from work. Sounds like jumping over a dollar to pick up a penny, if you ask me. And if this is true, DST doesn't make sense in places that are warm. It would only make sense in cooler climates since air conditioning would not be as prevalent. So maybe DST would make sense in those places.

Another study of energy was conducted in Australia that came to similar conclusions as UCSB's study. I also don't buy the California Energy Commission's tout that "less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day" during DST. CEC "claims" that with the hour shift that households plan more for outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours so we're not home sucking up energy. Well, at least they did clarify their statement that "the amounts of energy saved per household are small..."

As for me, I think that statement is very true in my household. We get up pretty early so we have to turn on the same lights no matter what time of the year. The only big difference is when we have to turn on the lights in the family room in the evening. That's 2 bulbs worth.

All in all, I just wish California would pick one time and stick with it. Some researchers said that DST isn't effective in the colder months (Nov-Feb). And if time shifts either way doesn't effect energy costs during those months, then why not just stay on DST then?

That's enough ranting for a Monday morning. Have a wonderful week and hope that you weren't late for work this morning. I'm going to go get me some more caffeine.

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