Daylight Savings Time has no impact on energy use, sleep cycle


Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once wrote that the Parisians would greatly benefit through “the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” 

Although daylight saving time did not originate from him, his words highlight the basis of the concept. Daylight Saving Time was implemented to make better use of the sunlight, and as a result save energy.

But Daylight Saving Time “conserves” less energy than expected.

In a 1975 study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation, estimated that around 1 percent of the country’s electricity consumption was cut down. But recently it was found that DST might actually cause a small increase in energy usage.

A research paper by Alison Sexton published in 2014 in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization studied the behavioral responses to DST. Sexton found from following the spring DST that people would sleep less in the mornings and spend more time awake at home. This actually encourages the extra use of lighting and heating at home.

Another hypothesis is that when DST was originally implemented, the major source of energy consumption in households was light bulbs. But in modern times, we use a larger variety of items, such as TVs and computers, that are used even when there is daylight.

So we can see that in terms of energy, DST does not seem to be making as much of an impact as it once used to.

DST also seems to have little effect on sleeping patterns and schedules.

The change of time did not have any noticeable effects, said Chris Chen, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

“I haven’t noticed. I think that’s a pretty good summary. If no one told me that it was happening, other than being late and hour, I wouldn’t notice,” he said.

Philip Lee, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said the change of time feels strange.

“I don’t mind (Daylight Saving Time) I mean it feels kind of strange. If I see the sun go down, I feel like my day is done," Lee said.

This may be a common feeling among many students. Seeing the sun go down earlier in the day makes us feel as though the day is shorter. Naturally, this may cause people to want to go to bed earlier. For this reason many people may experience a mini jet-lag type feeling, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome within a day or two.


Madhuri Bhupathiraju

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