Study: Daylight saving time a waste of energy

Mar 16, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Daylight saving time

(PhysOrg.com) -- Daylight saving time is supposed to reduce energy use, but data gathered from a state in the US suggests it actually does the opposite.

The US state of has 92 counties, but until 2006 only 15 of them adjusted their clocks for daylight saving time, with the remainder keeping standard time all year, at least partly to appease farmers who did not want the change. Then in 2006 the Indiana Legislature decided the entire state should adopt daylight saving time, beginning that spring.

This unique situation enabled professor of economics Matthew Kotchen and his PhD student Laura E. Grant, both from the University of California at Santa Barbara, to study how the adoption of daylight saving affected . They studied over seven million electricity meter readings in southern Indiana every month for three years, and compared the before and after the change. The 15 counties that had adopted daylight saving time much earlier were the control group, which allowed them to adjust for the effects of weather extremes over the period.

The result of the study showed that electricity use went up in the counties adopting daylight saving time in 2006, costing $8.6 million more in household electricity bills. The conclusion reached by Kotchen and Grant was that while the lighting costs were reduced in the afternoons by daylight saving, the greater heating costs in the mornings, and more use of air-conditioners on hot afternoons more than offset these savings. Kotchen said the results were more “clear and unambiguous” than results in any other paper he had presented.

Kotchen and Grant's work reinforces the findings of an Australian study in 2007 by economists Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff, who studied the extension of daylight saving time for two months in New South Wales and Victoria for the 2000 Summer Olympics. They also found an increase in energy use.

Daylight saving was initially introduced, and has been extended, because it was believed to save energy, but the studies upon which this idea was based were conducted in the 1970s. A big difference between then and the present is the massive increase in the take-up of air conditioning. In hot periods means air conditioners tend to be run more when people arrive home from work, while in cooler periods more heating is used.

Professor Kotchen presented the paper at the March National Bureau of Economic Research conference.

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More information: via WSJ

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DozerIAm
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 16, 2010
Daylight Savings Time - another example of the government trying to do good, and failing - and in the process doing harm.
Kedas
2.8 / 5 (4) Mar 16, 2010
Does he really know when and for what the extra energy was used?

Otherwise it would make sense to just say if it's longer day then people are more/longer productive hence the higher energy use.
THoKling
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2010
DozerIAm: Society is always learning. Ideals we take for granted with our current technological standing may well be proven false in the future.

Energy use is reduced at home when fewer people are at home and are at business. So does the system balance out between commercial and residential energy use? If so, we may wish to look at alternate pattern adjustments and play with it until a flexible medium is found.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2010
Kedas: He had a control group in nearby counties, so same length of day and same general weather. The only known variable difference between the two groups was one group went through the time change. It's safe to assume that the time change did affect energy use, not the weather or length of days.
PhysicsLver21
Mar 16, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Marcopolo80z
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 16, 2010
What utterly amazes me is how many DST cheerleaders who comment in the popular press insist that an extra hour of daylight has been created. To do this, nearly every law of astrophysics since the big bang would have to be turned upside down. It's merely shifting a time zone, in my case GMT -5 to GMT -5. BTW, I still despise it. I now have to turn on far more lights when getting ready for work in the morning, am less likely to take pubic transit to work since I hate getting up earlier to make the bus, and need to turn the heat up since I get up closer to the coldest part of the 24 hour cycle. An in Ohio, March and April tend to be cold, rainy months. So thrilling that it's daylight between 6 and 7 pm to watch the rain and sleet.
Marcopolo80z
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2010
Correction:

GMT -5 to GMT -4 ( I live in Ohio, which is on Eastern time)
hiranyu
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 16, 2010
I live in Indiana. I just forwarded a link to this article to Governor Daniels.
plasticpower
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2010
DST needs to be forgotten and not used anymore. Nobody likes it. It doesn't save energy. It's utterly useless.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2010
DST needs to be forgotten and not used anymore. Nobody likes it. It doesn't save energy. It's utterly useless.
Then again, from the linked WSJ article:
There may also be social benefits to daylight-saving time that weren't covered in the research. When the extension of daylight-saving time was proposed by Mr. Markey, he cited studies that noted "less crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity" with the extra sunlight in the evening.

In Indiana, the debate goes on. "The simpler the issue, the more people have opinions about it," says Indiana State Rep. Scott Reske, who voted against the switch to daylight-saving time. In the aftermath of the time shift, "a lot of people who hated it now love it, and a lot of people who loved it now hate it," he says.
meeker
3 / 5 (2) Mar 16, 2010
I like the extra hour in the Fall, but hate the missing hour in the Spring. DST is pretty stupid, just like February only having 28 or 29 days.

I can't wait to live in outer-space, then we don't have to deal with this 24-hour nonsense. I'd much prefer a 30-hour day. I can usually stay up for 20-22 hours before feeling the need to sleep for 8. Of course, by that time ... we'll have invented a pill that allows our bodies to not need sleep.
trekgeek1
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2010
I like it getting darker later. I never get much use out of the morning and it's nice to have "longer" days. More sunlight for me!
Bob_Kob
2.3 / 5 (4) Mar 17, 2010
I'm going to be really disappointed when daylight savings ends next month. Really I never actually heard it being used to 'save energy'. I just enjoyed having sunlight up until 7pm. The mornings are pretty much the same unless you get up at 6am or so.
Caution
5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2010
If you must be up early because of work or school or kids, and you are a morning person to boot, I can understand how this would be bothersome. I am not a morning person so I love the extra light at the end of the day. Having to remove DST during the winter, when we already have little to no evening light, is insane to me. I would love to be able to get up with the sun at close to 9 a.m. in the winter.

The cost increase is pretty minor for all the extra evening light we get during the season most desirable for outside activities: summer! My fondest memories as a child were enjoying the outdoors into the evening hours.
barakn
5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2010
... am less likely to take pubic transit to work since I hate getting up earlier to make the bus.....

Pubic transit sounds pretty painful anyway.
physpuppy
4 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2010
Anyone interested in this subject should visit the US Navel Observatory web site -

Daylight time:
http://aa.usno.na...time.php

Map of their web site:
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/AAmap

Info on Daylight time, time zones, moon phases, sun rise, set and so on.

PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2010
um.. "Navel Observatory"?

I didn't realize US was so deep...

=D
Nartoon
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2010
Extra Daylight while I'm awake in the evening beats extra daylight in the morning before I get up. If you don't like DST don't move to Alaska.
Nartoon
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2010
BTW, it's called Daylight Savings Time *NOT* Energy Savings Time because there is much more to it than simple energy savings, more daylight after work increases ones level of outdoor activity etc.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 21, 2010
um.. "Navel Observatory"?

I didn't realize US was so deep...

=D

Someone has to keep an eye on all those exposed belly buttons.
Zilwiki
not rated yet Mar 21, 2010
I like the extra hour in the Fall, but hate the missing hour in the Spring. DST is pretty stupid, just like February only having 28 or 29 days.

I can't wait to live in outer-space, then we don't have to deal with this 24-hour nonsense. I'd much prefer a 30-hour day. I can usually stay up for 20-22 hours before feeling the need to sleep for 8. Of course, by that time ... we'll have invented a pill that allows our bodies to not need sleep.


February has 28 or 29 days, and other months 30 or 31, so we don't have absurdities like winter in July or summer in January(in the nothern hemisphere). The idiots of the French revolution tried a " metric" calendar; it didn't work.
DADDYBEAR
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2010
How much did this fact finding cost? If they had just asked the people who are impacted by this they would have found out this is a waste of time and money. Get rid of it now.
undrgrndgirl
Mar 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
maiselm
1 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2010
OK, it's clear to me that everybody on this list is a mere baby. Daylight time was introduced in World War II, when factories, mostly lit by daylight, needed extra time to run to produce war materiel. The British added two hours in the summer (which they could do, being farther north than most of the US) for the same purpose, calling it "double summer time." Because the idea did reduce electricity usage for household lighting, it saved a considerable amount of energy at the time.

It may be true that it doesn't do so today. If so, cutting it out might spark a labor campaign for a seven-hour or six-hour day in winter, and I'd be for that!
maiselm
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2010
@Ziwiki: the French Revolutionary calendar worked just fine. It was Napoleon who got rid of it, along with other remnants of the epoch.
lessmith
not rated yet Mar 23, 2010
no air no electric heat does not apply
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2010
OK, it's clear to me that everybody on this list is a mere baby. Daylight time was introduced in World War II, when factories, mostly lit by daylight, needed extra time to run to produce war materiel.

That's completely untrue.

DST originated with farming practices in the late 1700's. Franklin was the first to suggest and push for implementation. Very Clavenesque of you.
shotei
not rated yet Mar 26, 2010
hiranyu thank you I will do the same. I hear they claim less crime but nobody is saying anything about more crime against children waiting for the bus while it's pitch black outside at 7 am.
tbotcotw
not rated yet Apr 05, 2010
That's completely untrue.

DST originated with farming practices in the late 1700's. Franklin was the first to suggest and push for implementation. Very Clavenesque of you.


No, _that's_ completely untrue. Franklin suggested we get up earlier in the summer, not that we change our clocks. Farmers hated DST (and are at least part of the reason Indiana had such a weird DST/non-DST split). Finally, DST wasn't invented until around the turn of the 20th century, and the US didn't adopt it until 1918... and then immediately repealed it in 1919, not to come back until WWII.
DozerIAm
not rated yet Apr 07, 2010
...nobody is saying anything about more crime against children waiting for the bus while it's pitch black outside at 7 am.


Have you got ANY statistics to back up that claim, or are you just speculating here?