How Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy?


What does daylight savings time do? How Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy? Information on daylight saving time history.

How Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy?

How Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy?

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME is a time system in which one or two hours of additional daylight are gained during waking hours. During much of the year, people experience several hours of darkness before they retire and, particularly in the summer months, sleep through several hours of early morning daylight. To extend the period of evening daylight, most countries have adopted daylight saving time. This is accomplished by advancing clocks one or two hours ahead of standard time, so that people rise and retire one hour earlier. The plan is widely used for the summer period, and its year-round operation is becoming increasingly popular.

Benjamin Franklin was an early proponent of a plan to avoid wasting daylight. He suggqpted that some plan should be adopted to save on candles and provide a longer evening of light. But William Willett (1857-1915) of Chelsea, England, must be given the credit for proposing and campaigning for adoption of a definite plan to this effect. The plan was described in his book Waste of Daylight (1907). From 1908 to 1916 the British Parliament rejected several bills for setting clocks ahead in the summer. Finally, in May 1916, a year after Willett’s death, a plan was adopted to use a summer daylight saving system in Britain. Europe was involved in World War I by this time, however, and in 1915, Germany had become the first nation to adopt a daylight saving system, in order to conserve fuel and power.

There was little interest in such systems in the United States until World War I. After considerable urging] by proponents of daylight saving, the U. S. Congress passed a bill in 1917 to authorize advancing clocks one hour from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, as of 1918. Because farmers strongly objected to thus readjusting their work schedules, however, the bill was repealed in August 1919. After the war the use of daylight saving time lost much of its popularity; where adopted, it was by municipal or—in a few cases—state legislation. In World War II, however, Congress enacted a law providing for year-round daylight saving time; this lasted from February 1942 to October 1945. Most countries of Europe adopted similar plans, and England moved its clocks two hours ahead of Greenwich Civil Time.

Interest in the system remained high in the United States after 1945, especially in the Eastern states. By 1966 all of or parts of 36 states had daylight saving plans. But confusion was caused by the fact that parts of some states were on daylight saving time and other parts were not. Consequently, in 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act. The act stipulated that all states were to go on daylight saving time on the last Sunday in April and to return to standard time on the last Sunday in October, starting in 1967. Any state was eligible to exempt itself from the ruling by state law, but only if the entire state remained on standard time. There will be a period of transition before all states adopt the policy favored by most of their people.

Most of the major nations today have a period of daylight saving; several nations, such as Mexico, France, and Spain, remain on advanced time all year. In February 1967, Britain advanced its clocks one hour to coincide with French and central European time, and it remains on this schedule throughout the year.

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