It’s a common misconception that Daylight Saving Time (DST) was adopted to give farmers an additional hour of sunlight, but the practice was actually implemented as a way to save energy. Initially, DST in the U.S. was observed nationwide only during wartime when it was necessary to conserve fuel. Today, the spring ritual of setting clocks forward by one hour is practiced in almost every state. A growing body of evidence, however, indicates that DST may in fact waste more energy than it saves.
Early Studies on Daylight Saving Time
The gas shortages and sky-high fuel prices during the oil embargo of 1973 prompted Congress to enact a year-long DST for the entire country. At the end of the trial period, the Department of Transportation (DOT) was tasked with evaluating the impact the law had on energy savings. The DOT reported that while traffic safety improved and incidences of violent crime decreased, energy savings were minimal. A 2007 study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also reported nominal savings.
The Hoosier State Study
In 2008, researchers working for the National Bureau of Economic Research presented a study based on residential electricity consumption in Indiana. After evaluating household monthly energy bills collected over the course of three years, researchers concluded that the Hoosier State’s 2006 adoption of DST had actually increased energy consumption in the residential sector by as much as 4 percent.
The Air Conditioning Factor
Advocates of Daylight Saving Time have long argued that energy savings would be achieved by reducing the demand for lighting in the early evening. Unfortunately, DST supporters failed to factor in the growing use of air conditioning systems nationwide. The Indiana study showed that while energy consumption for lighting dropped, the savings were offset by cooling expenditures. In regions of the country like central Florida—where air conditioners are essential to indoor comfort—DST is likely to waste even more energy.
Air Tech of Central Florida: Your Energy-Saving Experts
While some people argue that social benefits like safer streets and extra sunlight for outdoor activities make DST worthwhile, the evidence is mounting that it’s a failure when it comes to energy conservation. Fortunately, the HVAC experts at Air Tech of Central Florida offer an array of energy-saving solutions. From innovative new installations to proactive maintenance and duct repair, we’ve been optimizing cooling systems in the Sunshine State since 1998. To learn more about saving energy and money, contact an Air Tech professional today.