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eLightBulbs Blog > What are the actual savings in Daylight Savings Time?

What are the actual savings in Daylight Savings Time?

Posted by Blair Eisenbraun on Jun 1, 2010

There is the hour of sunlight we save, but are there other savings as the government and DST proponents imply?

What are the actual savings in Daylight Savings Time?
If there are any, they’re difficult to quantify.  There are myriad consequences to DST, and each requires its own research, data-keeping, and other related activities to track.  I think the main reason we continue to observe DST is because we’re used to it, and to remove it would be a greater undertaking than simply continuing to observe it.
The extra hour of sunlight benefits plenty of retailers to be sure.  There are most certainly plenty of retail lobbyists in Washington trying to keep DST in place.  Whether this is a good or a bad thing is debatable, but not a debate I’ll be going in to.
One of the original goals of Daylight Savings Time was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting.  Various private and governmental studies have shown this never really happened.  It might work today, as education about lighting and energy usage has become far more prevalent, but 30 or more years ago the general public wasn’t concerned with such things.  Today’s compact fluorescent light bulbs have rendered this point of DST moot, as their very existence reduces energy usage far beyond even conservative usage of incandescent lighting.
Even if people turned on their lights later in the evening, the extra hour of sunlight translates into an additional hour of the sun’s heat, which would cause most homes to use an additional hour of air conditioning at a higher level.  This pretty much cancels out the reduced usage of lighting.  Studies have shown that the energy usage during DST most years ends up increasing between 0.5% to 1%, or not changing at all.  These numbers will probably increase in the future, because the baseline lower energy usage of compact fluorescents in the home will cause cooling costs to be proportionally higher.
Daylight Savings Time is an odd practice, one with definite detriments but ambiguous benefits.


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About the Author
Blair Eisenbraun
Blair is an incredibly versatile copywriter. He enjoys researching and mastering his subject matter and provides interesting and engaging commentary through his gift of writing. In his downtime, he is an avid gamer and enjoys finding the humor in life.
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