BY WESLEY BUTLER
You’ve probably heard your friends and family complain about daylight time. Having to go to bed earlier, get up for school and work earlier and adjust to a new schedule isn’t fun. But chances are they don’t know what the point of it is.
Daylight time (or “summer time” in Europe) is credited to William Willett, who, in 1905, came up with the idea of moving clocks forward during the summer to take advantage of daylight in the early evenings.
It wasn’t put into use until April 1916, when it was adopted to replace artificial lighting so fuel could be saved for the war effort in Germany. Since then, countries around Europe and North and South America have adopted daylight time as a way to conserve energy.
We believe daylight time is not only useless, but it actually makes people use more energy rather than conserve it.
In 2006, Matthew Kotchen, professor of economics at the University of California in Santa Barbara, studied over seven million electricity meter readings in southern Indiana every summer for three years.
After comparing energy consumption before and after daylight time, he discovered that electricity use actually increased, with a total cost of $8.6 million in household electricity bills.
Although lighting costs were reduced in the afternoons during daylight time, there were greater heating costs in the mornings and an increased use of air conditioners during afternoons.
In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Standards in 2007, daylight time had no effect on household electricity.
Not only does it not save energy, but it’s also very unhealthy. In fact, after the clocks move one hour ahead, the number of recorded suicides and heart attacks increase significantly. This happens because when your body’s circadian rhythm is forced to change, it reduces its ability to handle shocks and everyday stress. By having to change your daily routine so rapidly, you’re basically hurting your body.
A century ago we didn’t have a way to determine whether daylight time had a real impact. Now, since we know it carries a lot of negative consequences, it’s time for it to go.