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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Daylight Saving Time

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Daylight Saving Time is an invention intended to make the most of, yes, daylight. Find out when it started, if it works, and more. 

Yesterday, most of us got en extra hour of time as we turned our clocks back an hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time. Originally suggested by Benjamin Franklin, though not put into effect until World War I[1], Daylight Saving Time could be considered one of the world’s earliest eco-friendly actions: The change in time would help people reduce their reliance on artificial light at night, therefore saving coal and other resources.

To me, the time change simply seems like an annoying adjustment that happens twice a year, throwing my kids’ sleep schedules out of whack and forcing me to pull out my car manuals to figure out how to change the dashboard clock (I will admit that some years, we just suffer with the wrong time until the time changes back!). So in an effort to actually appreciate Daylight Saving Time — and to find out if it really does save energy today — I thought I’d do some digging on Daylight Saving Time. Here are 7 of the most interesting facts and tips I came across:

  1. During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was observed year-round for more than 3 years, in an effort to conserve fuel[1].
  2. In 2007, the U.S. Government added a month to Daylight Saving Time as part of the 2005 Energy Act, moving its start time up from April to March, and its end time to the first weekend in November. In addition to saving energy, the new November date was intended to help protect children on Halloween, hoping that the later sunset would reduce the number of trick-or-treaters who get hit by cars.
  3. Daylight Saving Time doesn’t necessarily save energy. An article in the Christian Science Monitor cited a 2010 study that found that in Indiana, Daylight Saving Time actually caused a 1 percent increase in electricity, because the time change caused people to increase their heating and air conditioning usage.
  4. During the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, some parts of Australia extended Daylight Saving Time. A study of power usage during that time showed that although energy consumption was reduced in the evenings, usage increased in the mornings, which negated any energy savings.
  5. Even animals can have trouble adjusting to the time change, according to a Live Science article. Pets are accustomed to be fed at a certain time, and farm animals also have a routine — for instance, a cow gets milked at a certain hour each day. A livestock researcher suggested altering animals’ schedules by a few minutes each day to get them used to the new schedule.
  6. Certain parts of the U.S. and its territories — including but not limited to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa — do not observe Daylight Saving Time. States are not required to participate in Daylight Saving Time; Arizona’s government chooses to keep year-round standard time because of its high temperatures[2].
  7. A group is proposing to end Daylight Saving Time altogether. Their suggestion involves combining time zones into only 2 time zones, with a 2-hour difference. Their argument is that this would make it easier for people who are traveling between states or doing business with people in other parts of the country. They also cite research that shows that the concept does not actually save energy.


1 National Geographic


Do you feel like you save energy because of Daylight Saving Time? Weigh in, in the comments below!

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

  • Terri B. 5 days ago
    Glad to be in Arizona where we do not have to change the time. We recently moved from central Texas where the time did change and it was very hard to adjust twice a year.
  • joanna l. 6 days ago
    Speaking of WW2, we can definitely take lessons from the people who lived through it and raised children then. It was a time of ration books, recycling for the war effort (cans and even cooking grease was collected , I am told) Where there's a will, there's a way!
  • joanna l. 6 days ago
    If it actually doesn't save energy, then what's the point?
  • Carolyn N. 6 days ago
    No, I do not believe daylight savings saves energy. Not everyone is on the same schedule. Some people work evenings or nights and some people work mornings. So glad that we do not have that here in AZ. Wish all the states felt the same way.
  • Michael G. 7 days ago
    There may have been a legitimate reason for Franklin to have proposed DST back before air conditioning and shopping malls, but these days it is nothing but an inconvenience that actually causes us to use more energy.

    I think it’s funny that people think they are “gaining” or “losing” time by changing the number on the clock, though. Mother Nature does nothing different before or after.

    One of the best things about living in Arizona is being on real time all the time!
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