It happens every year…the dreaded Sunday in March. The morning we lose an hour of our life. Okay, so it’s not as dire as it sounds, but for some people it really messes with their day (I’m looking at you, night owls). So, it got me and the girls in the office to thinking….what is daylight saving time, and why do we do it? Well, I did some research into the history of this seemingly crazy event and unearthed some very interesting tidbits.
For one thing, the proper term is “daylight saving time”, not “daylight savings time”. Definitely didn’t know that, so if you hear me saying that just slap my wrist : ) .
The urban legend is that Benjamin Franklin was the creator of this novel idea in the 1700s. While he did believe that waking up earlier could result in saving millions of dollars in candles (because residents could use the sunlight instead), he never suggested changing the time (just for lazy residents to get out of bed earlier).
In the early 1900s, an Englishman named William Willett did indeed propose moving the clocks forward between April and October. Even after a life spent campaigning for this cause he so ardently believed in, he never witnessed its success.
In 1916, the daylight saving time concept was finally made a reality. But the good Ol’ USA didn’t start it; the Germans actually approved it in an effort to conserve electricity. The United Kingdom soon followed.
The United States had much more difficulty with the time-saving measure, and after numerous implementations and consequent repeals, the Uniform Time Act was enacted in 1966. This Act standardized the current practice of Daylight Saving Time, but also allowed states to have the choice to take part. Hawaii and Arizona are the only two US states that do not participate in Daylight Saving Time, but worldwide, only 1/4 of the population participate.
Does it really save energy costs? The answer is yes. And no. The 1% of energy we save during Daylight Saving Time is offset by higher air conditioning costs. What we save in one area, we spend in another. And do you know how you feel when it’s light outside when you get off work in the summertime? You want to go to the park, drive to a baseball game, go get ice cream. When you normally would sit at home and watch TV, you are out and about. Hence, greater gasoline consumption.
So is it worth it? Does it make any sense? To be frank, to some people it does and others it doesn’t. But whether we like it or not, the fact remains that we will be waking up bleary-eyed and blotchy-faced on Sunday morning. Happy Spring Forward!!
REMEMBER to set your clocks forward ONE hour before you go to sleep Saturday. The time change happens at 2am Sunday morning (now, don’t ask me why THAT is)! Cheers!
For more information about the history of Daylight Saving Time, click here.