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Article Archive >> Community

Reflections: It's that time of year again!

Reflections
It's that time of year again!
By William L. Bulla

It's that time of year again! It starts every year at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March. It is called Daylight Saving Time. Every spring we move our clocks one-hour ahead and "lose" an hour during the night. On the first Sunday in November each year, we move our clocks back one hour and "gain" an extra hour. The phrase "spring forward, fall back" is often used to help people remember how Daylight Saving Time affects their clocks.
But Daylight Saving Time (not Daylight Savings Time with an "s") wasn't just created to confuse our schedules. Back in 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested Daylight Saving Time, however, it wasn't implemented in the United States until World War I. It allowed our Nation to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October.
During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time.
In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time is four weeks longer since 2007 due to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. The Act extended Daylight Saving Time with the hope that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours.
During the eight-month period of Daylight Saving Time, the names of time in each of the time zones in the U.S. change as well. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time, Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), Mountain Standard Time (MST) becomes Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), Pacific Standard Time becomes Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), and so forth.
As I said in my column last year, there are many people who do not care for Daylight Saving Time. I have numerous farmer and dairymen friends who find a problem with the daylight saving program. They tell me their cows; sheep and other animals don't understand why politicians want to change their eating times. But, neither do the people having to feed these animals. It often takes several weeks for the animals to adjust to new eating schedules.
In doing a bit of research on the Internet, I discovered the following information. Energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting homes is directly related to the times when people go to bed at night and rise in the morning. In the average home, 25 percent of electricity is used for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, VCRs, and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home. By moving the clock ahead one hour, the amount of electricity consumed each day decreases.
In the summer, people who rise before the sun rises use more energy in the morning than if Daylight Saving Time was not in effect. However, this waste of energy from having less sunlight in the morning is more than offset by the savings of energy that results from more sunlight in the evening.
So, that's the reason we will continue to "spring forward, fall back" every year!

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

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