Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Daylight savings and energy conservation

Reading the EPACT 2005 summary, I was confused to see that the spring forward and fall back periods were changed from that of previous years as a means of conserving energy. To be honest, I first assumed it was an innovative step, and whoever had done the study must have been sure that energy would be conserved as a result of this.
Then, I actually thought about it....The spring forward period was moved a month earlier, I woke up this morning at about 6 am and it was completely dark and a little warm outside (the temperature was a little weird, but oh well), so I turned on my lights and air conditioning. I understand that as we get closer to the summer, it will be brighter at about 6am but there are going to be a few more weeks till there's actually some sunlight that early in the day. If the spring forward period wasn't moved to about a month earlier, then most people would get up when it's a little bit brighter outside and might need less electricity in the morning to prepare for the day.
Same for the fall back periods, EPACT 05 extended the period for pushing the clocks back by 1 hr by about a week. So we have a short period where its a little darker than it should be, I think a lot of people will are turning on more lights and spending more time awake (at least I do), increasing the length of peak usage.

A recent article on Yahoo news (please see the attached link to the article) compared the utility costs in Indiana after adopting daylight savings with previous years, and noted they were spending an additional $8.6 million dollars on electricity; which further questions the whole notion of daylight savings altogether.

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