Friday, March 7, 2014

Everything You Need To Know About Daylight Saving Time

It’s time to change — the time. Daylight Saving Time (DST), the seasonal hourly change, commences at 2 a.m. Sunday. Clocks, watches and other timekeeping devices — don’t forget computers and home video units — should be reset one hour ahead. Essentially shifting an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening until the first Sunday in November.
For those directionally challenged, just remember — Spring ahead and Fall back.
Not long after the first of the year, daylight slowly and steadily lingers a little longer since the Sun rises earlier and sets later by as much as 15 minutes until the summer solstice. By mid-winter, its daylight until late afternoon. This week the sun set just before 6 p.m. Once the clocks are reset Sunday, dusk will settle in around 7.
Almost everyone — except perhaps night owls, vampires, thieves and others who covet the cloak of darkness — prefers daylight to standard time. The bonus daylight adds time to spend outdoors on pleasant summer evenings to do things commonly handicapped by darkness. Besides, most of us, with the exception of the sleep-deprived, sleep as night passes.
With energy consumption as the primary objective, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that expanded Daylight Saving Time. Beginning in 2007, DST began on the second Sunday in March and ended the first Sunday of November. Besides saving energy, other motives crime reduction and automobile fatalities, which studies found to occur more often at night.
Three years later, adhering to the legislative directive, the Department of Energy studied the energy savings and found that during daylight saving time, electricity use decreased by 0.5 percent per day, which added up to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, enough to power about 122,000 average U.S. homes for a year.
  After the law was enacted, most consumer electronic items, which were preprogrammed for the old time change date, had to be manually adjusted to compensate for the new modifications, but today, most electronic devices automatically reset the time. 
  The backstory for Daylight Saving Time begins in 1784 with Benjamin Franklin, the wise statesman and prolific inventor, who was among the first to suggest it in America. His inspiration came when he was the U.S. Ambassador to France. The French introduced it in order to limit the cost of almost 100 million pounds of candles a year.
But the concept wasn’t brought to fruition until a British architect proposed it in 1907 and the Germans, whose devotion to precision seems to be genetic, first tried it during World War I. Many other countries soon adopted it. President Woodrow Wilson repealed America’s mandatory daylight saving law on March 31, 1918, when the fuel-saving effort, for which it was instated, never materialized.
Daylight saving time was also the impetus for fuel economy during World War II on a year-round basis. In fact, the U.S. and other countries employed “double” daylight saving time consisting of a two-hour shift during the Second World War. During the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, daylight time was also implemented year-round as a fuel consumption measure. In late 1974, as the crisis subsided, standard time returned.
Daylight saving time was delayed for almost 50 years because the once-powerful farm lobby objected and Congress sustained that resistance.
All states currently observe daylight time, except for Arizona and Hawaii and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Arizona regularly has more than a fair share of sun, so its citizens presumably crave that extra hour after the sun goes down year-round. Nevertheless, the state’s Navajo Reservation, which extends through three states, switches to daylight saving time, though the smaller Hopi Reservation doesn’t. Must be a tribal thing.
As we age and time seems to pass more quickly, we’re inclined to treasure each day more. Even though Daylight Saving Time doesn’t change the number of hours in a day, it adds more daylight to our lives and that can be a psychological boost.
In any case, what’s an hour, more or less, out of 8,760 each year?