We say it every year – fall back, spring ahead. Setting the clocks forward or behind is always a tell-tale sign of seasons changing. But the bi-annual tradition is more than just that. As we gear up for this weekend’s time change, here’s a look at how Daylight Saving Time came to be, and how the policy can help you save energy this spring.
Benjamin Franklin is credited with coming up with the concept of Daylight Saving Time in 1784 to conserve candles, but it wasn’t until the end of Word War 1 that it was nationally adopted. The policy was put in place to mimic that of Europe, which created the law to reduce the use of fuel for generating electricity.
However, after a mass rejection, Daylight Saving Time was repealed in 1919 and posed as an option for majority of the country. It was reinstated briefly during the second World War (called “War Time”) to continue conservation efforts, yet it wasn’t until 1974 that Daylight Saving Time became the official policy we know today. According to a 1975 Department of Transportation study, Daylight Saving Time trimmed the entire country’s electricity usage by about 1 percent compared to standard time.
Years later, in a 2008 Department of Energy report, Daylight Saving Time proved to be still effective. The study, which looked at 67 utilities across the country, found that by extending Daylight Saving Time by just four weeks, saved about a half of a percent of the nation’s electricity per day, or 1.3 trillion watt-hours in total. That’s the equivalent of power for 100,000 households a year. This study also took into account commercial use in addition to residential use.
What Daylight Saving Time Means For You
With warmer weather, though, comes the need for more electricity consumption via air conditioners, fans, pool pumps and more. Here’s a few easy ways to take full advantage of Daylight Saving Time to save energy and enjoy an extra hour of sunshine.
Spend more time outside. As the weather gets warmer and there’s more daylight, capitalize on nature. Plus, spending less time in front of a TV or your electronic devices will help save energy.
Barbecue! Even if the temperatures aren’t summertime balmy, an extra hour of light makes it even easier to start up the grill and save money by reducing the use of your oven or stove-top.
Open the shades. More daylight means less of a need for lamps or overhead light. Open up blinds and shades to let in sun and reduce the time spent using electricity.