||Saving Time, Saving Energy
saving time, its history and why we use it
Saving Time Saves Energy
of Daylight Saving Time
Changes Daylight Saving Time
and President Reagan Change Daylight Saving Time
||Daylight saving time, its history
and why we use it
Spring forward...Fall back....
It's ingrained in our consciousness almost as much as the A-B-Cs
or our spelling reminder of "i before e...." And it's
a regular event, though perhaps a bit less regular than the swallows
coming back to Capistrano.
Yet in those four words is a whole collection of trivia, facts and
common sense about Daylight Saving Time.
In 2005 and 2006, Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the
United States at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April. Time reverts
to standard time at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.
Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time is extended one month
and begins for most of the United States at:
2 a.m. on the Second Sunday in March
2 a.m. on the First Sunday of November.
The new start and stop dates were set in the Energy Policy
Act of 2005.
Time -- for the U.S. and its territories -- is NOT observed in
Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,
and by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian
Reservation in Arizona).
Other parts of the world observe Daylight Saving Time as well.
While European nations have been taking advantage of the time
change for decades, in 1996 the European Union (EU) standardized
a EU-wide "summertime period." The EU version of Daylight
Saving Time runs from the last Sunday in March through the last
Sunday in October. In the southern hemisphere where
summer comes in December, Daylight Saving Time is observed from
October to March. Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes)
don't observe Daylight Saving Time since the daylight hours are
similar during every season, so there's no advantage to moving
clocks forward during the summer.
||Daylight Saving Time Saves Energy
One of the biggest
reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that
it saves energy. Energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting
our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get
up. Bedtime for most of us is late evening through the year. When
we go to bed, we turn off the lights and TV.
the average home, 25 percent of all the electricity we use is for
lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, VCRs and stereos. A good
percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in
the evening when families are home. By moving the clock ahead one
hour, we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each day.
Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation
show that we trim the entire country's electricity usage by about
one percent EACH DAY with Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time "makes" the sun "set" one
hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime
by one hour. This means that less electricity would be used for lighting
and appliances late in the day.
We also use less electricity because we are home fewer hours during
the "longer" days of spring and summer. Most people plan
outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours. When we are not at
home, we don't turn on the appliances and lights. A poll done by the
U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that Americans liked Daylight
Saving Time because "there is more light in the evenings / can
do more in the evenings."
While the amounts of energy saved per household are small...added
up they can be very large.
In the winter, the afternoon Daylight Saving Time advantage is offset
by the morning's need for more lighting. In spring and fall, the advantage
is less than one hour. So, Daylight Saving Time saves energy for lighting
in all seasons of the year except for the four darkest months of the
year (November, December, January and February) when the afternoon
advantage is offset by the need for lighting because of late sunrise.
But why do we have Daylight Saving Time to begin with? Who created
the laws and regulations that we follow?
||History of Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time
is a change in the standard time of each time zone. Time zones
were first used by the railroads in 1883 to standardize their schedules.
According to the The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus by McClelland &
Stewart Inc., Canada's "[Sir Sandford] Fleming also played
a key role in the development of a worldwide system of keeping
time. Trains had made obsolete the old system where major cities
and regions set clocks according to local astronomical conditions.
Fleming advocated the adoption of a standard or mean time and hourly
variations from that according to established time zones. He was
instrumental in convening an International Prime Meridian Conference
in Washington in 1884 at which the system of international standard
time -- still in use today -- was adopted."
In 1918, the U.S. Congress made the U.S. rail zones official under
federal law and gave the responsibility to make any changes to the
Interstate Commerce Commission, the only federal transportation regulatory
agency at the time. When Congress created the Department of Transportation
in 1966, it transferred the responsibility for the time laws to the
The American law by which we turn our clock forward in the spring
and back in the fall is known as the Uniform Time Act of 1966. The
law does not require that anyone observe Daylight Saving Time; all
the law says is that if we are going to observe Daylight Saving Time,
it must be done uniformly.
Daylight Saving Time has been around for most of this century. In
1918, in order to conserve resources for the war effort, the U.S.
Congress placed the country on Daylight Saving Time for the remainder
of WW I. It was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. The law,
however, proved so unpopular that it was later repealed.
When America went to war again, Congress reinstated Daylight Saving
Time on February 9, 1942. Time in the U.S. was advanced one hour to
save energy. It remained advanced one hour forward year-round until
September 30, 1945.
From 1945 to 1966, there was no U.S. law about Daylight Saving Time.
So, states and localities were free to observe Daylight Saving Time
This, however, caused confusion -- especially for the broadcasting
industry, and for trains and buses. Because of the different local
customs and laws, radio and TV stations and the transportation companies
had to publish new schedules every time a state or town began or ended
Daylight Saving Time.
By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving
Time through their own local laws and customs. Congress decided to
step in end the confusion and establish one pattern across the country.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S. Code Section 260a) created Daylight
Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the
last Sunday of October. Any area that wanted to be exempt from Daylight
Saving Time could do so by passing a local ordinance. The law was
amended in 1986 to begin Daylight Saving Time on the first Sunday
||Embargo Changes Daylight Saving Time
the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, Congress put most of the nation on extended
Daylight Saving Time for two years in hopes of saving additional energy.
This experiment worked, but Congress did not continue the experiment
in 1975 because of opposition -- mostly from the farming states.
In 1974, Daylight Saving Time lasted ten months and lasted for eight
months in 1975, rather than the normal six months (then, May to October).
The U.S. Department of Transportation -- which has jurisdiction over
Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. -- studied the results of the experiment.
- Daylight Saving Time saves energy. Based on consumption figures
for 1974 and 1975, The Department of Transportation says observing
Daylight Saving Time in March and April saved the equivalent in
energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day -- a total of 600,000
barrels in each of those two years. California Energy Commission
studies confirm a saving of about one percent per day.
- Daylight Saving Time saves lives and prevents traffic injuries.
The earlier Daylight Saving Time allowed more people to travel
home from work and school in daylight, which is much safer than
darkness. And except for the months of November through February,
Daylight Saving Time does not increase the morning hazard for
those going to school and work.
- Daylight Saving Time prevents crime. Because people get home
from work and school and complete more errands and chores in daylight,
Daylight Saving Time also seems to reduce people's exposure to
various crimes, which are more common in darkness than in light.
The Department of Transportation estimated that 50 lives were
saved and about 2,000 injuries were prevented in March and April
of the study years. The department also estimated that $28 million
was saved in traffic accident costs.
Newer studies, however, reportedly challenge the earlier claims
of safety and crime prevention under DST. Further research probably
||Congress and President Reagan Change Daylight Saving
President Ronald Reagan
Source: Official Portrait of President Reagan.
Daylight Saving Time was changed slightly in 1986 when President Reagan
signed Public Law 99-359. It changed Daylight Saving Time from the
last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April. No change was made
to the ending date of the last Sunday in October.
This was done ostensibly to conserve energy during the month of April.
Adding the entire month of April is estimated to save nationwide about
300,000 barrels of oil each year.
You can find out more information about Daylight Saving Time by
writing TIME, c/o Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, D.C. 20590.
Another Web site about DST is a public service of the Institute
for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA) by WebExhibits as
a complement to www.time.gov.
The U.S. Naval Observatory's Web site gives the current
time for all time zones, and it's free.
Daylight Saving Time differs in other areas of the world. Consult
a good encyclopedia for additional information about DST in your
own country. Or check out the following Web pages:
||Adapted from Aldrich,
Bob, 2005, Saving
Time, Saving Energy: California Energy Commission.