Daylight Saving Time: How Economic Is It?

And does it really work? A nuanced answer

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By Linda Ferraro

Daylight Saving Time: How Economic Is It?

A few years back, an article in National Geographic outlined the results of various surveys conducted in the United States by professors in ecology and economics from the University of Washington. According to them, putting the clock back one hour in the winter is futile. The saving effort is offset by consumption of energy resources in the early hours of the morning when natural lighting is lower.

According to a different article from the Scientific American, senior analyst Jeff Dowd of the U.S. Department of Energy acquired some very different results: after a survey of 67 US companies over a period of 4 weeks, the result indicates that the time change saved 0.5% of daily energy requirements at national level, for a total of 1.3 trillion watt-hours.

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Despite these opposing positions, winter time has negative effects that are objective and undeniable. This practice goes against natural cycles, particularly in rural areas. For those who work in a natural environment, forcibly applying a schedule different from the one provided by nature, actually imposes significant difficulties.

If the biological cycles of life in the fields does not vary (we plough, pick, and irrigate during the same hours every time), but the practical organization of activities outside the farm must be reorganized, this can generate some difficulties. It disturbs our sleep patterns and eating habits. Our body clock does not need artificial change, because it is depends on the natural environment.

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Although experts also disagree with these points, who hasn’t experienced a little unease induced by the setting back the clock?

If this schedule change poses actual energy savings for the state, many think that it is a clever expedient to compel citizens to change their habits. What do you think?

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