Time change got you down? This will perk you up. … Maybe.

This weekend marked the end of Daylight Saving Time. We now enter that period of the year when it gets dark at 4 p.m., and we start popping extra vitamin D.

Let’s be ...

Tagged: Daylight Saving Time, energy savings

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Time change got you down? This will perk you up. … Maybe.

Small chalkboard says

Let’s be honest: This transition can kind of be a bummer. Bed times are thrown off for your kids, and your only chance of seeing the light of day is if you sneak outside over your lunch break.

Key Points

  • Most states recognized the end of Daylight Saving Time this weekend.
  • It’s the start of the dark season, but there is a bright side — like cozy evenings by the fire.
  • Time changes have a long history, and the jury is still out about if they save energy. 

This weekend marked the end of Daylight Saving Time. We now enter that period of the year when it gets dark at 4 p.m., and we start popping extra vitamin D.

Let’s be honest: This transition can kind of be a bummer. Bed times are thrown off for your kids, and your only chance of seeing the light of day is if you sneak outside over your lunch break.

But there’s a silver lining to the dreary early afternoon dusk. Here are a few things to help you out of your time-change funk:

  1. Mornings are brighter. It won’t be quite so dark when you get up, and at 6:30 it will feel like 7:30. Win!
  2. It’s easier to put the kids to bed. In the summer, it’s really hard to argue with a 5-year-old who won’t go to sleep because the sun is still brightly shining at 8 p.m. Not the case anymore. When it’s dark at 4 p.m., you can easily trick your kids into going to bed at 7 p.m. because it’s “soooooo late.”
  3. Dark evenings are cozy. Light a fire (after making sure you fireplace is running efficiently and safely, of course), make some hot tea and get out the board games. It can be nice to snuggle in on a long, cold evening.
  4. It saves energy. This whole spring forward/fall back thing helps us all use less electricity. Maybe. I’m pretty sure. Or maybe not. Here’s the history on that:
  • 1784 — Ben Franklin writes an essay that suggests adjusting the clocks in the spring could be a good way to save on candles.
  • 1895 — George Vernon Hudson unsuccessfully proposes an annual two-hour time shift to the Royal Society of New Zealand. His goal was to match daylight hours to the times when most people are awake, helping conserve energy.
  • 1905 — A British construction magnate named William Willett tries to convince the United Kingdom Parliament that citizens should adjust their clocks each spring and fall to allow more time for recreation in daylight hours. It, too, fails to get any traction.
  • 1916 — Germany and Austria implement a one-hour clock shift to help conserve electricity needed for the war effort.
  • 1918 — United States first observes Daylight Saving Time, also as a wartime effort to conserve electricity.
  • 1919 — United States repeals Daylight Saving Time as wartime efforts end.
  • 1942 — United States reinstitutes Daylight Saving Time during World War II. This time, several states decide to keep the adjusted hours after the war.
  • 1966 — Congress passes the Uniform Time Act, standardizing the time change as starting in April and ending in October.
  • 2005 — The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends DST by two months. It now starts each year in March and ends in November.

Some studies have shown that there really isn’t any energy savings associated with DST. In fact, this report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that in some regions, the extra hour of light in the evening can actually lead to increased electric consumption.

In 2008, the Department of Energy analyzed the theory that DST could save energy and concluded that it could save some electricity but might indirectly add to people’s overall energy consumption.

Overall, it looks like the jury is still out about DST’s energy savings.

Either way, it will help if we all focus on the bright side, even if it’s really, really dark out. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Happy end of Daylight Saving Time Day!

I hope you enjoyed your extra hour this weekend. Before I had kids, I used it to get an extra glorious hour of sleep after an evening of socializing with friends. I probably even ...

Tagged: Daylight Saving Time, save energy

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Happy end of Daylight Saving Time Day!

Daylight saving time

I’m always looking for ways to save energy, so if keeping Daylight Saving Time would help our electric demand, I’d be all for it.

Key Points

  • Most states recognized the end of Daylight Saving Time this weekend.
  • Jury is still out on if DLT saves any energy.
  • If you see a young parent today, hand him or her a large coffee and walk away.  

I hope you enjoyed your extra hour this weekend. Before I had kids, I used it to get an extra glorious hour of sleep after an evening of socializing with friends. I probably even showered and took time to put on makeup. I wish I could yell to that young self, “Enjoy this moment when your jeans fit, the only thing on your to-do list tomorrow is to take a ‘long run,’ and your idea of lots of laundry is anything more than one load a week!”

I was so naïve and had no idea that while I was celebrating an extra hour of zzz’s, parents everywhere were cursing me.

Things have changed. The end of Daylight Saving Time means that June and Annie think it is 6:30 a.m. when it’s now only 5:30 a.m. More. Caffeine. Now.

I’ve heard lots of reasons why we have Daylight Saving Time. Farmers, energy savings, “because Ben Franklin said so,” war time strategy, etc.

And it turns out, there’s a bit of truth to each of those rumors. Here’s a quickie history of DST.

1784

Ben Franklin writes an essay that suggests adjusting the clocks in the spring could be a good way to save on candles.

1895

George Vernon Hudson unsuccessfully proposes an annual two-hour time shift to the Royal Society of New Zealand. His goal was to match daylight hours to the times when most people are awake, helping conserve energy.

1905

A British construction magnate named William Willett tries to convince the United Kingdom Parliament that citizens should adjust their clocks each spring and fall to allow more time for recreation in daylight hours. It, too, fails to get any traction.

1916

Germany and Austria implement a one-hour clock shift to help conserve electricity needed for the war effort.

1918

United States first observes Daylight Saving Time, also as a wartime effort to conserve electricity.

1919

United States repeals Daylight Saving Time as wartime efforts end.

1942

United States reinstitutes daylight saving during World War II. This time, several states decide to keep the adjusted hours after the war.

1966

Congress passes the Uniform Time Act, standardizing the time change as starting in April and ending in October.

2005

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends DST by two months. It now starts each year in March and ends in November. However, states are not required to follow this guideline, which is why states like South Dakota can consider ignoring it altogether. That’s how we roll in South Dakota. Or, in this case, don’t roll (the clocks, that is).

I’m always looking for ways to save energy, so if keeping DST would help our electric demand, I’d be all for it. But many studies have shown that there really isn’t any energy savings associated with DST. In fact, this report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that in some regions the extra hour of light in the evening can actually lead to increased electric consumption.

In 2008 the Department of Energy analyzed the theory that DST could save energy and concluded that it could save some electricity but might indirectly add to people’s overall energy consumption:

“Assuming that businesses and households maintain their daily schedules (with respect to clock time) after the transition to EDST, extra evening daylight hours may lower electricity consumption because of the delayed need for lighting. Morning electricity use could increase, as people awaken to darker homes and the need for electric lighting is greater. Some parts of the country enjoy cooler or warmer evening weather, and EDST could result in changes in the amount of electricity used for heating and air conditioning.

“Daylight Saving Time also provides people with the opportunity to pursue more outdoor activities during the lighter (and warmer) late-afternoon/evening hours. Consequently, while reducing electricity consumption in homes, extra daylight might lead to more driving, which would likely translate into more miles.”

Overall, it looks like the jury is still out on if DST is an energy saver or not. But even if this legislation doesn’t help us save energy, I’m for any way to keep nap and bedtime disruptions to a minimum. Pass the coffee. 



Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: Daylight Saving Time, save energy