Another way to save energy:
May 29, 2001 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Another way to save energy: make every day a Daylight Savings Time day. Why *do* we (USAians or anyone else with daylight-extending customs) bother to change back to standard time, anyway?
posted by darukaru (13 comments total)
While this may save energy and thus be virtuous, we now all know the only to solve the energy issue is to drill the ANWR. :)
posted by nofundy at 7:45 AM on May 29, 2001

Standard contra-argument: extending evening daylight time takes away morning daylight time. And when you have children heading to school during the morning rush hour (unlike the afternoon, where the kids leave earlier than the workers) there's greater opportunity for accidents.
posted by holgate at 7:48 AM on May 29, 2001

I agree that daylight savings should be extended.. but I'd prefer that schedules are simply changed instead. We're going into a '24 hour society' nowadays anyway.

So, during summer, just start school at 4am.. during winter, start it at 8am. Sure beats moving the time zones around.

"Those against daylight-saving time often have argued that setting the clocks ahead would throw cows off schedule, making life difficult for farmers."

And that's an even more stupid statement than what I just said.. do these people realise that cows do not use clocks? Some people seem to think that all existence revolves around doing things at certain times. It does not. Farmers should milk their cows whenever its the right time.. not when their clock says so.

If they have to do it at 5am in Winter and 8am in Summer, so be it. I fail to see how Daylight Savings Time helps anyone in principal. But changing schedules and starting times would.

But at least changing daylight savings time is a step. It starts to get light here at 3.30am now.. if you don't get up till 9am, you've lost at least 5 hours of light. (But who wants to go to bed at 7.30pm??)
posted by wackybrit at 8:03 AM on May 29, 2001

Sure beats moving the time zones around.

True. China, fr'instance, has just the one time zone. And it's one of the few arguments for Swatch's "beats" concept. The main problem is that timezones are predicated by longitude, but sunrise and sunset times are affected by latitude. So the argument for year-long summer time is stronger in the SE of England than in the north and Scotland. (It's also more convenient when travelling to the continent.)

It also highlights another question: whether the shortage of people's time has as great an impact as any shortage of energy.
posted by holgate at 8:22 AM on May 29, 2001

Umm.... I don't really see how this solves anything. The whole point of "daylight savings time" is that by playing silly games with the clocks, we can collectively agree to do things an hour earlier or later at different times of year. If you just shift things an hour earlier and have done with it, all you've done is change the symbols on the clock face and leave the meanings the same. Without the threat of shifting the clocks back six months later, there's no reason for people to keep their schedules intact; they might as well shift to accomodate the new schedule, and once they do that the whole effect disappears. Then what? Shift it another hour, and another, until you manage to coerce everyone into getting up at the crack of dawn? Maybe we don't WANT to get up that early.

Daylight savings time has always seemed a bit silly to me. As far as I'm concerned, the clock represents the earth's rotation regardless of the level of sunlight, and daylight savings time - which pretends the earth has rotated farther than it actually has - is thus a denial of reality.

But you could argue that I'm taking it too seriously...

posted by Mars Saxman at 8:32 AM on May 29, 2001

I am sitting in an office. The sun is shining. But the lights are on. The computers are running. So is the heating/air-conditioning system. This is true in the winter, when the work day ends after dark, and in the summer, when it's light the whole time. Where will the energy savings come from if we shift to daylight savings time all year? This notion dates from the 1890s when factory windows were big, to avoid lighting costs, and daylight savings time made sense. But workplaces that rely on natural light are rare today.
posted by beagle at 8:38 AM on May 29, 2001

Exactly...daylight savings time as a method to reduce electrical usage is as obsolete as sugar rations. Most electrical use now has no relation to the time of day or the level of sunlight.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:58 AM on May 29, 2001

Just to counter the whole y'know for kids argument...

"Initial statistics had suggested that more children were being killed in the mornings, although subsequent analysis showed that the lives saved through lighter evenings far outweighed these losses."
posted by zeoslap at 9:07 AM on May 29, 2001

It's not just kids and cars--lots of adults find it harder to get up and out in the dark. It was great that it was still light at 9:00 on Friday, while I was traveling by bus from Chicago to Madison, but having to get up at night in December is annoying enough without that being extended to February.

This is largely psychology, rather than energy use. For people on 9-5 schedules, the extra evening daylight isn't very useful unless it's still light when we get home from work: having sunset at 5:30 instead of 4:30 wouldn't pay for sunrise being at 8:30 in the morning.

As for the cows--the exact point is that cows don't use clocks. Because commercial dairies, and truck drivers, do. The argument was that you'd either have to change milking times (and this was hard on the cows) or store the milk at the farm longer. I suspect--any dairy farmers here?--that fewer dairy farmers have the latter problem now.
posted by rosvicl at 9:31 AM on May 29, 2001

And that's an even more stupid statement than what I just said.. do these people realise that cows do not use clocks? Some people seem to think that all existence revolves around doing things at certain times. It does not. Farmers should milk their cows whenever its the right time.. not when their clock says so.

I personally feel the same way about waking up, going to work and paying my bills, but others alway seem to have a problem with my practice of this theory. What an anal society we live in... ;-)

Like it or not, people and (at least) American society, live by the clock (and I think it's more than just American society, but I'll limit myself to what I know). The stock market, banks, buses, planes trains and autombiles (okay maybe not the latter) run by the clock. Without time, we as a society are running around willy-nilly and the efficiencies built into our "civilization" are destroyed. I'm not saying that this is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It's just how it is.

Now go to some other countries and you'll see that time really doesn't matter nearly as much as it does here in the U.S. (Mexico, Spain and Italy, and the Caribbean come to mind). I personally think that that's a better way to live. We could ship all of the type-A's somewhere else! ;-)
posted by fooljay at 10:28 AM on May 29, 2001

I guess I'm also not the most objective person to comment on this. I'm a freelancer, so I wake up whenever I wake up, and I go to bed when I feel tired. This means that one day I'll be getting up at 8am.. and 5pm another. It also means I get a 'natural' 10 hours a night.

Sadly, most of society can't do this (except the elderly) and it certainly plays hell with my brain whenever people come to stay or I have to go out on a job. Okay, perhaps my system isn't such a good idea.. Is this non-conformity taken too far!?
posted by wackybrit at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2001

I vote for a second hour added in Summer. So New York (and Paramus)can be like Paris, and we can take romantic walks on the Brooklyn Bridge, watching the sun set at 9:30pm....
posted by ParisParamus at 12:30 PM on May 29, 2001

The real answer is to switch to the 28-hour day.
posted by werty at 6:48 AM on May 30, 2001

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