Sunday, November 23, 2008
HOW TO CHANGE BY NOT CHANGING!
If Barack Obama does this one thing while he is president, then I will feel vindicated!
The bane of my existance is the time change we endure twice a year. I hate...yes, literally hate! having to "fall back". It affects my mood...I know I am physically affected by light and I love the sun.
When we change to winter time, I feel like I have one less hour a day of sunlight. That's why I was so heartened by this item in the times stating that Barack Obama is considering the elimination of Daylight Savings Time in order to conserve energy, but I know he's doing it just to make me happy!
Twice a year, a bunch of countries, including most of the United States, practice daylight saving time or DST, shifting one hour ahead in the spring and one hour back in the fall. While I go through the whole twice-a-year ritual of looking for clocks, I only vaguely understood the reason behind it. I knew it had to do with more sunlight during waking hours and I assumed it was to save energy.
Turns out, according to two academics on the NYT Op-Ed page, there is little scientific proof that this reduces energy consumption. It also turns out that this practice could be wasteful, a bit annoying, and a lot of people, including Obama, want to get rid of it.
A study in Indiana, a state that recently started DST, showed an overall increase of 1 percent in residential electricity use with occasional increases of 2 to 4 percent in late spring and early fall. So much for conserving energy.
While DST is great for reducing in-door lighting, the shift in time increases the demand for air conditioning during hot summer evenings and increased heating in early spring and late fall mornings. The energy suckers of heat and A/C could eliminate any savings from reduced lighting and, as the Indiana study showed, actually increase electricity consumption.
The hot state of Arizona seems to already know this and opted out of the whole time-shifting practice.