The clock change for Daylight Saving Time 2016 or Daylight Savings Time with the “s”, depending upon where you live, is almost here. In a few days that extra hour you picked up when Daylight Saving Time rang in before winter, will have to go back into the time bank on Sunday March 13, when clocks spring forward. To many folks Daylight Saving Time is an archaic tradition to follow and many would vote today to wipe DST off the face of the Earth if there were such a vote offered.
As USA Today reports on March 10, that the “credit” or “blame” for Daylight Saving Time, depending on how you view the time change, goes to Benjamin Franklin. A man beyond his time when it came to thinking, Franklin wrote about the hours of daylight not coinciding with what the average person was doing at different times of day.
He observed that folks were sleeping past dawn and this meant they were wasting the light that was provided by the sun. They burned candles at night before retiring for the day, which wasted the precious wax that was a hot commodity in his day. In 1784, it was Franklin’s published works, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” that was the first widely-read idea about adjusting time to fit with the hours people are up and working. Unfortunately Franklin never saw his “Diminishing the Cost of Light” spin into action.
During World War I the need to preserve fuel saw the birth of a program to save daylight. This was the first actual Daylight Saving Time and while it made sense, it wasn’t until President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act into law back in 1966 that it became official.
While Daylight Savings Time was really all about saving energy, that might not be the case today, as some studies suggest. According to USA Today, “Researchers found switching to daylight saving uses 1% less energy for lighting but 2 to 3% more for heating and air-conditioning.”
UBC.com asks the question, “Should we abolish Daylight Saving Time?” They addressed the cost of energy, which is the main argument to keep Daylight Saving Time in place. A study from the State of Indiana that was done ten years ago, showed back then that it doesn’t save energy. Their study found “while there were savings on lighting, there was a larger increase in air conditioning use in long summer evenings and heating use in fall mornings.” So the savings wasn’t there.
Another odd factor that coincides with the Daylight Savings Time change comes from a study done by UBC Sauder finance professor Maurice Levi. He found that the DST shifts impact stock markets. “While Mondays normally see a dip in stock returns, switching over to DST magnifies that dip by 200 to 500 per cent. Levi and his co-authors found the DST switch leads to a one-day loss of as much as $31 billion across all American stock exchanges. The DST stock-market continues to be researched actively,” reports UBC.com.
Today the folks at the Department of Transportation are in charge of Daylight Saving Time and they believe that not only does it save energy, it reduces both traffic accidents and crime. More and more new studies seem to disagree with the DOT’s take on this DST program.
A study coming out of Finland found a spike in heart attacks for the first week following each time change. The culprit here is believed to be sleep deprivation due to adjusting to the new time. The medical communtity links heart health with sleep.
If the nation did decide to stick with the same time year round, would it be beneficial to go back to the standard time or would the Daylight Saving Time schedule work better year-round. You might be surprised to hear that the experts have to say. UBC reports: “If we were to abolish daylight saving time, we have two choices: either have standard time year-round, or daylight saving time year-round—a question of whether the sun hits its peak around noon or around 1 p.m. It might actually be better to switch to year-round DST, with our days centered around 1 p.m., as new research suggests that would have optimal energy savings.” That means we would be able to keep that extra hour for good!