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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DST around the world

» Daylight saving time not proving to be an energy saver - Thaindian News: "But, according to a report in the National Geographic News, Hendrik Wolff, an environmental economist at the University of Washington in Seattle, is skeptical of the purported savings.

Wolff and colleague Ryan Kellogg studied Australian power-use data surrounding the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when parts of the country extended daylight saving time to accommodate the games.

The pair compared energy use in the state of Victoria, which adopted daylight saving time earlier than normal, to South Australia, which did not.

“Basically if people wake up early in the morning and go to bed earlier, they do save artificial illumination at night and reduce electricity consumption in the evening,” said Wolff.

“Our study confirmed that effect. But we also found that more electricity is consumed in the morning. In the end, these two effects wash each other out,” he added."

With DST coming earlier than ever this year, the change generated even more press than usual. And we Hoosiers can't escape being in the news regarding how we spend our time. If, just a couple of years ago, we were featured in news stories because we DIDN'T change our clocks, this year, we're in the news because we DID change, and afforded researchers the opportunity to measure just how much energy was saved. The verdict: none. Even the New York Times weighs in on the subject»

And, if you do a Google News search on the topic, you'll find that the story was covered around the world, with the same results being found in an Australian study. (See above.)

The discussion is certainly worthwhile; if our reason for observing DST is to save energy, we seem to be failing miserably; as one article pointed out, if in Benjamin Franklin's day an hour of light in the evening did indeed save a candle, that same reasoning can no longer apply to our 24/7 way of life.

But, at least Indiana is now on the same temporal playing field with the rest of the country,, and we enjoy the benefits -- economic, and otherwise -- as does most of the U.S., as this story from WTHR details»

And indeed, if I miss that morning sunshine, I don't really need it, especially during the work week: I'm just dragging my butt into work and going to sit in fluorescently fake light all day, anyway.

But after work, when I'm free: how I love that extra hour of daylight then. When you walk out of work at 4:30, it's still high afternoon--there's that feeling of the day stretching before you, and the childhood memory of the infinity of summer seems bright and clear. And if in winter, you feel as if you could go to bed at 6:30 and not miss anything, in summer, you're just getting warmed up; by then, in June, I've had a walk, and fixed dinner, and cleaned dinner up. And I'm ready for another walk, or some yardwork, or an errand. And maybe I'll sit on the porch after, and read a minute, or just watch the rest of the neighborhood walk by.

Even last night, a still-winter night in March, I liked that hour--if it's stolen from the morning, I'm putting it to really good use in the evening. Even if I am burning a little more energy.

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