Friday, March 6, 2009
Are you ready to change your clock?
This weekend marks the start of Daylight Saving Time where most of the country sets their clocks forward one hour. Shifting time is thought to save energy, but in actuality the results are less clear. In some studies, there has been 1-3.5% savings in energy consumption per day, but in others there has been 1-4% increase in consumption. There are similar mixed results in regards to reduced traffic accidents and violent crimes, another reason behind shifting the clocks.
The United States is not the only country that observes a clock change, in fact, most of the Northern Hemisphere observes a time change for Summer. Though the actual dates for changing vary greatly around the world. Areas nearer the equator are less likely to observe DST as the length of daylight doesn't change significantly. U.S. states and territories are not required to observe DST and there are a few that don't, Hawaii among them.
Officially, in the United States the Energy Policy Act of 2005 determined that U.S. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in November. In 2009, DST starts on March 8 and ends on November 1. Next year, will DST start on March 14 and end on November 7.
The clock change gives people more sunlight time in the afternoons for leisure activities and shopping, but farmers have historically been opposed to the change since it means that they must work in the dark longer. The issue continues to be a topic for discussion with both sides making strong points. I suspect that DST is here to stay regardless of whether it saves energy or not.