Ok, now that daylight time is here for us in the new world, and coming in a few weeks for the EU, it’s time for a pop quiz: who invented daylight savings time?
Yes, fellow Googlers, it was Benjamin Franklin who reasoned it would save candles in the colonies. It was not mandated in the US until we entered WWI, when the intent was to preserve resources.
According to Scientific American, the first study of the effectiveness of daylight savings time was conducted in the 70’s, during our first “oil crisis.” The same article notes that a study in Indiana in 2006, the year that state mandated daylight time in all rather than just some of its counties, showed an increase in energy usage.
Similar results were seen in California in 2007, when daylight time was lengthened by four weeks. California Energy Commission researchers found an energy savings of only 0.2% with a margin of error of 1.5%. Changes in air conditioning patterns as well as the pervasiveness of electronic controllers in homes and businesses are possible causes of the flat or negative results.
I, for one, enjoy the light in summer evenings. Farmers dislike daylight savings time, for it disrupts their schedules. Sports enthusiasts favor it. In the late ’90’s, for instance, representatives of the golf industry said daylight time earned them and extra $400 million in fees each year.
For it or against it, the odds of it’s changing are practically non-existent. Unless you live in Arizona, you’ve lived with it all your life. Besides, there are more pressing issues for Congress to fail to act on than this.
Daylight time is one of those things, like the Superbowl and plum blossoms, like St. Patrick’s day, and the start of baseball season, that signal the coming of another spring and summer. I’m not inclined to complain too much if that costs me an hour of sleep.