Irreverently, I refer to the 4 months that are not part of Daylight Saving Time as Daylight Wasting Time. And why not? If we’re not saving daylight, we must be wasting it, right? What is the value of that wasted daylight during those four months of the year?
Well, today marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in the US. Proponents use catchy phrases like “Spring Ahead”. The reality is you lose an hour’s sleep. And, for me, I was at a program this weekend that started an hour earlier on Sunday. So I lost two hours, not just one. Some will say I’ll gain an hour back in the fall, but I think that’s doubtfull. Even so, I’m still down one.
The blogprof has similar concerns as he notes in Once again, the dreaded switch to daylight-savings time…:
I write a post every year about how I dread the “spring ahead” into daylight savings time (I Despise Switching to Daylight-Saving Time). I indicate downsides to doing this, including:
- Debbie J. Frank, co-owner of Sleep Associates Inc. in Saginaw Township, said a National Sleep Foundation Poll revealed traffic crashes increase in the days after the spring switch because people are more sleep-deprived and less alert.
- Shari S. Drake, clinical coordinator for Covenant HealthCare Sleep Center in Saginaw said daylight-saving time exacerbates sleep disorders, and more than 70 million Americans have one.
- A study in Sweden showed more heart attacks during the first three weekdays after daylight-saving time in the spring, perhaps because of sleep deprivation, and a corresponding decrease in the risk during the more-restful fall back of the clocks in autumn.
You get the gist, no? Plus this: Time to spring ahead, but benefits and savings are unclear.
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which included a provision to extend daylight-saving time by three weeks in the spring and one week in the fall. The idea was that later hours of daylight would promote energy conservation. Actual energy savings as a result of daylight-saving time remain unclear, however, and the policy may even contribute to additional energy usage — the opposite effect it’s supposed to have.
Ah yes – the law of unintended consequences. A good example of what happens when the government gets involved in societal policies with good intentions. Always seems to be a repeating pattern. Welfare? War on poverty? Medicare? Medicaid? Social Security? Community Reinvestment Act? Affirmative Action? So onto the results of this policy:
One of the most recent extensive studies on daylight-saving time’s relation to energy found little evidence the policy actually saves energy.
Yup. Sounds about right. Shocker, eh? Can we please just get rid of daylight savings entirely and never utter the phrase again? Ever? Please??? Another research group found that
…daylight-saving time “increases residential electricity demand.” Estimates of the overall increase are about 1 percent. While daylight-saving time did seem to save electricity for lighting, these savings were more than offset by usage for heating and cooling.
The law of unintended consequences (which itself is a corollary to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics)… Intend to save the environment (good intention), put a bigger load on it instead (bad result). And kill a few more people to boot…