Daylight Saving – Energy saving or energy wasting?

Here is an excellent discussion on slashdot about the effect of daylight saving time on overall energy consumption.  Included is a link to Wall Street Journal article describing a study at UC Santa Barbara.

A recent legislation passed in Indiana, USA changed daylight saving time policy of the state and gave the reserchers unique opportunity to observe the effects on electricity bills before and after the change. The conclusion? “The study unambiguously concludes that Daylight Saving Time not only doesn’t save any energy, it actually wastes energy and costs more.”

Indeed at some point in time, especially around and after the world war – II, the practice of daylight saving time resulted in energy savings. People were able to use more of sunlight instead of the lights inside, and were able to save a money on electricity bills.

Then came air conditioning.

When an air conditioner or a heater runs for an extra hour because of time change, it far more than offsets the amount of energy saved by switching off the lights. As shown in one of my previous posts,  air conditioner is the biggest energy hog. The proportion of energy consumed by air conditioner is far higher and thus makes the daylight saving theory questionable.

~ by Kedar on March 4, 2008.

20 Responses to “Daylight Saving – Energy saving or energy wasting?”

  1. Delaying the nominal time of sunset and sunrise reduces the use of artificial light in the evening and increases it in the morning. As Franklin’s 1784 explanation pointed out, lighting costs are reduced if the evening reduction outweighs the morning increase, as in high-latitude summer when most people wake up well after sunrise. An early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity.[6] Although energy conservation remains an important goal,[24] studies are contradictory, and suggest that DST can increase energy use in some common cases:

    The U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) concluded in 1975 that DST might reduce the country’s electricity usage by 1% during March and April,[25] but the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) reviewed the DOT study in 1976 and found no significant energy savings.[21]
    In 2000 when parts of Australia began DST in late winter, overall electricity consumption did not decrease, but the morning peak load and prices increased.[26]
    Although a 2007 study estimated that introducing DST to Japan would reduce household lighting energy consumption,[27] a 2007 simulation estimated that DST would increase overall energy use in Osaka residences by 0.13%, with a 0.02% decrease due to less lighting more than outweighed by a 0.15% increase due to extra cooling; neither study examined non-residential energy use.[28]
    DST may increase gasoline consumption: U.S. gasoline demand grew an extra 1% during the newly introduced DST in March 2007.[29]
    A 2007 study found that the earlier start to DST that year had little or no effect on electricity consumption in California.[30]
    A 2007 study estimated that winter daylight saving would prevent a 2% increase in average daily electricity consumption in Great Britain.[31]
    A 2008 study examined electricity billing data in Indiana before and after it adopted DST in 2006, and concluded that DST increased electricity consumption by 1% to 4%, primarily due to extra afternoon cooling.[7

  2. Excellent comment Mike. Thanks.

  3. The theory of increased air conditioner time may work in the extreme southern U.S. However, wouldn’t the reverse be true in the northern part of the country. I live in Knoxville, TN (relatively south) and checked NOAA’s website for heating and cooling info. There were 0 Cooling Degree days for the week ending March 15th, and 114 Heating Degree days. Using the same logic you used in your article, wouldn’t less heating be required, wehter electric or gas?

  4. i read some useful guide how to save energy see
    they were the big help for us.

  5. It’s interesting that the exact opposite of the original intention of the change is happening. Technology changes everything

  6. If early sales are any indication, consumers are already “insulating” themselves from rising costs of heating their homes this winter by investing in Eclipse—a new line of energy-saving, light- and sound-blocking curtains from Ellery Window Fashions. Independent lab tests confirmed that these curtains, which come in a wide variety of styles and colors, can reduce energy loss by up to 25 percent compared to ordinary curtains, saving an average homeowner as much as $1,000 a year in heating costs. With heating oil costs currently 36% higher than last year, Eclipse curtains are an essential tool in any savings plan.

    The curtains range in price from about $12 to $40 per panel, making them an affordable solution for the average family.

  7. One of the Best ways to Save Energy is to have a Home Energy Audit by the Energy Doctors. We can pinpoint exactly where your home or business is losing Energy and costing you green. Visit our site to learn more at

  8. Top 3 ways to save energy:

    3.Adjust the water level on your washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water. Always use a cold rinse.

    2.Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before putting in dishwasher. It can save up to $70 a year.

    1. USE http://www.GOOCOAL.COM AS YOUR DAILY SEARCH ENGINE. Your monitor saves energy when it is black. Press “CTRL + D” to save GOOCOAL.COM as your homepage.

  9. Air conditioning can account for anywhere from 5 to 50% of your household budget. Because an air conditioner is such a sizable investment, you can save money and energy by carefully purchasing and operating your air conditioner.

  10. It depends on how you generate your energy, then how you use it

  11. There wouldn’t be any cost savings even with DST if people are not mindful of energy usage.

  12. It is a shame we have daylight savings to conserve and then things that would make a huge impact like geothermal go relativly unused.

  13. It is an informative article. We should complete our most of the daily works during the natural light!
    Energy Saving Advice

  14. great post.. very informative.. thanks for sharing

  15. I recently came across a new technology for energy saving. check out change your old T12 flouorescent light tubes to the new T5 tubes with the help of a simple adapter and immediately save up to 75 percent energy.

  16. If the unit is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing your system with one of the newer, energy-efficient units. A new unit would greatly reduce your energy consumption, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition. Check your ductwork for dirt streaks, especially near seams.

  17. DST not only increases fossil fuel consumption, but presents health and safety issues, decreases GNP by forcing every clock to be adjusted that does not automatically adjust, and likely may contribute to confusion on the part of elderly and children. It is a concept whose time is past . . . long past. The more quickly this illogical and irrational practice is dropped, the sooner we realize the benefits of a true “standard time.”

  18. Energy a simple word but very meaningful and important without it no work can be done. The other form of energy are those we need in order to live conveniently and easily. In short we couldn’t live without it. Hence, i choose Energy saving.

  19. With the energy that we use saving is must to be practical and for us to be able to help our environment. It is a simple practice but a big help to our ever changing world.

  20. Firstly thanks so much for sharing and spreading the word.
    Secondly saving energy can not only help our environment improve its state but it can benefit us by saving alot of our money and maybe selling the extra electricity.
    What do you think?

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