Daylight Savings Time- Energy Savings?

Spring Ahead, Fall Back- we all know the routine.  Daylight Savings Time started again on March 4th at 2am.   One of the biggest reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that it reportedly saves electricity. Newer studies, however, are challenging this idea.

Energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly related to when we go to bed and when we get up. In the average home, 25 percent of all the electricity we use is for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, computers and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home and up. Daylight Saving Time “makes” the sun “set” one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. By moving the clock ahead one hour, we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each day.  We also use less electricity because we are home fewer hours during the “longer” days of spring and summer. Most people plan outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours. When we are not at home, we don’t turn on the appliances and lights.

Although the amounts of electricity saved per household are small – they add up. Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that we trim the entire country’s electricity usage by about one percent each day with Daylight Saving Time.

In May 2011 a report by the California Energy Commission recommended that going to a year- round DST could help with the electricity problems of that state.

A report was released in May 2001 by the California Energy Commission to see if creating an early DST or going to a year-round DST will help with the electricity problems the state faced in 2000-2002 Winter DST would cut winter peak electricity use by around 3.4 percent. Summer Double DST would cause a smaller and more uncertain drop in the peak, but it could still save hundreds of millions of dollars because it would shift electricity use to low demand (cheaper) morning hours and decrease electricity use during higher demand hours.

A 2008 report from the University of Santa Barbara concludes that Daylight Saving Time in Indiana actually increases residential electricity demand. It looked at the part of the state that did not observe DST. Now the whole state observes DST.  After reviewing this report the state of California does not believe its findings would hold true in California or the rest of the country as Indiana uses little residential air conditioning in the summer, Indiana is located in western edge of the same time zone as Maine and Florida, but the sun actually comes up at an earlier time than those other two states and Indiana’s north-south location will affect how long the days are in the summer and might very well lead to different results in different areas of the state.

We do know for sure that turning off lights, appliances and air conditioning does save electricity and money any time of the year. Lights left on in an unoccupied office building are a waste of resources and money. Advanced Control Corporation provides the ability to expand your building automation system to include lighting control for your building. The range of control can be from a basic control system for lighting and equipment switching applications which are ideal for use in facilities where time-of-day control is being managed from a time clock or centralized building management system to a fully automatic lighting control for all of your facilities lighting circuits. Advanced Control Corporation implements a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way. If you are interested and finding out more information about lighting control and energy management contact Advanced Control Corporation at 954.491.6660 today!