A Very Short History on Daylight Savings Time

No really, there is much more on daylight savings time then you think. There is about two hundred years of history for a practice most of the United States does twice a year.  While many states and territories observe this practice on Sunday November 4th, it is not mandated for all states and territories. Federal Law instead, stipulates that any region that does observe daylight savings sets their clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. This practice might seem a bit silly, but there is a very thought out rationale to this dating back hundreds of years.

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The idea behind daylight savings is to extend the number of daylight hours in the evening in order to save electricity. Benjamin Franklin gets the credit for this idea, but it wasn’t put into wide spread practice right away.

The first instance of daylight savings being put into wide use was World War I. Germany implemented the practice in order to help conserve energy for the war effort, and Britain followed suit as did the United States. In 1918, President Wilson wanted to keep the time change, but it was repealed because farmers thought it kept them out of sync with the cities.

The same thing happened in World War II. The government instituted daylight savings but then when the war ended, the more industrialized country, didn’t care much about losing the evening light. So they left the clocks alone and chaos ensued. In 1966, the issue was resolved with the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which stated that states did not have to observe daylight savings but if they choose to, the whole state had to comply.  Furthermore, the federal government would determine the dates to “spring forward” and “fall back.”

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Since it was implemented, daylight savings has been extended three times and it now encompasses from March to November. However, none of the history answers the million-dollar question. Does manipulating a clock really change the way we consume energy?

When daylight savings was first proposed in the late 18th Century, its goal was to try to eliminate the use of incandescent lighting, which was the primary use of electricity. However, energy usage patterns have greatly changed in the last 200 years.  Today, there is a lot of dispute over the modern effects of daylight savings, a sampling includes:

  • An Australian study in 2000 found that when daylight savings was implemented during the winter months, energy consumption did not decrease. Yet, the morning peak load and prices increased.
  • A 2008 study monitoring Indiana before and after the adoption of daylight savings concluded that residential energy consumption increased between 1 and 4 percent due to extra afternoon cooling and extra morning heating.
  • In 2007, he United States Department of Energy concluded that overall energy consumption decreased by 0.5 percent during the extension of daylight savings. However, this report did not examine the use of heating fuels, nor did it analyze the entire eight month period.

When it comes to how daylight savings will affect your building plans, unless you are planning on building your home in Arizona or Hawaii, there is no avoiding the dark evenings that will start next week. However, if you decide that daylight savings is working against you, and you don’t want to pay an astronomical heating bill, then consider the selection of exclusive ENERGY STAR® home plans offered through our site.

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