Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daylight Savings Springs Ahead

I know you're sick of every person on tv, radio and the Internet telling you to move your clocks ahead an hour tonight, like you're not smart enough to grasp it the first few hundred times they tell you. But you may not have heard that you'll need to do it for your computers, VCRs and other electronic devices which automatically change you over to Daylight Savings Time. See, they're not programmed for this new change. They're programmed to change three weeks from now. And if you don't turn off the automatic DST settings on such equipment, you'll have to change it again in three weeks when the devices will move your clocks ahead an hour.

And what's all this for again? To conserve energy, right? Well, that might not really be the case. An Austrailian study into this says that it doesn't and, in fact, may increase energy consumption. In 2000, Australia extended DST by two months and Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff of UC Berkeley's Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics found that "the decrease in evening electricity demand and the increase in morning demand almost perfectly balanced each other out".

So who benefits from DST changes like these, or from DST at all? Of course, we get that extra hour of light in the evening, but in March it just means we can see that dirty snow piled up outside for longer. The golf and bbq industries love it. Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time tells us that in the US in 1986 when an extra hour was added to DST, the golf industry reported an added $200 million in green fees and equipment sales while barbeque retailers reported a $200 million to $400 million increase in sales.

So tonight don't forget your electrical devices in your clock changing and think of future golf games and barbecues to come. And if you really want to feel like you're doing some extra energy conservation, buy some of those energy-saving bulbs and replace the regular ones in your home or buy a digital thermostat so you can be more precise about the amount of heat you're using.

And enjoy the extra hour of daylight tomorrow. Here where I live it looks like I can watch the rain for an extra hour the next couple of days.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger TrudyJ said...

"Of course, we get that extra hour of light in the evening, but in March it just means we can see that dirty snow piled up outside for longer."

How true! That's what I've been saying ever since I heard about the plan to bring in DST early this year. What's the point when it's still obviously winter out? I want the clocks to go ahead when there's at least some faint hope of a sign of spring. Doing it now is a mockery.


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