Does Daylight Savings Time Really Save Energy?

Does Daylight Savings Time Save Energy?
Does Daylight Savings Time Save Energy?

It’s time to “Fall Back” again- Daylight Savings Time ends this year on November 4th at 2am. Reported energy savings are one of the biggest reasons we follow Daylight Savings Time (DST). A number of countries stopped changing their clocks this year, though, unconvinced that the savings are significant enough. Conflicting studies back up both sides of the issue.

When we get up and when we go to bed directly correlates to energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting. 25 percent of all electricity used in the average home is for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, computers, and stereos. With Daylight Savings Time the sun seems to set one hour later, reducing the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour so we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each day. Electricity use is also reduced because we are home fewer hours during the spring and summer. Most people participate in outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours. When we are out enjoying the “longer” days, we don’t turn on the lights and appliances.

Although the amounts of electricity saved per household are small – they add up. U.S. Department of Transportation studies from the 1970s show that we trim the entire country’s electricity usage by about one percent each day during Daylight Savings Time. A 2001 report by the California Energy Commission recommended that going to a year-round DST could help with the state’s electricity problems.

The California Energy Commission had been studying whether an earlier employment of DST or going to a year-round DST would improve the energy troubles the state faced in 200-2002. They found that winter DST would cut peak electricity use by around 3.4 percent. Summer Double DST would cause a smaller and more uncertain drop in peak usage, but it could still save hundreds of millions of dollars because it would shift electricity use to low demand (cheaper) morning hours.

University of Santa Barbara issued a report in 2008 presenting their conclusion that Daylight Saving Time in Indiana actually increases residential energy demand. They reached this conclusion by comparing part of the state which did not practice DST with the rest of the state (the entire state is now on DST). The state of California reviewed this report but discounted its relevance to California and the rest of the country for three main reasons: Indiana is located in the western edge of the same time zone as Maine and Florida, but the sun actually rises an earlier time in Indiana than the other two states; Indiana uses little residential air conditioning in the summer, and Indiana’s north-south location affects the length of days in the summer and might lead to different results in different areas of the state.

One thing everyone can agree on is turning off lights, appliances and air conditioning always saves electricity and money. Lights left on in an unoccupied office building are a waste of resources and capital. Advanced Control Corporation can help you cut energy expenses by expanding your building automation system to include lighting control. Our simple, straightforward  lighting control offers a fast pay-back and can be scaled to match your budget. The range of control can be from a basic control system for lighting and equipment switching applications, 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. Lighting control can be applied to outdoor areas such as parking lots, garages, walkways, and signs as well as indoor areas such as offices, cubicles, cafeterias, and storage areas. Incorporate these lighting control systems as part of a new construction project or retrofit them to your facilities’ existing lighting circuits to give any type of building efficient control of the lighting circuits. Advanced Control Corporation has been the industry leader in building automation, energy management, system integration, access control and CCTV solutions in South Florida since 1987. We have built a solid and respected reputation for our products and services over the years. Fierce determination to be the finest controls company in South Florida and your solution for building controls has paved the way to our successful involvement on some of the most respected projects in our market. Our principals have participated in several of the pioneering advances of our industry and have experience providing systems and services effectively to hundreds of facilities spanning three continents. Whether you are retrofitting your facilities or beginning a new construction project, Advanced Control Corporation has the tools and resources to help you achieve superior energy management through building automation and lighting control. Contact us today at 954-491-6660 for more information.