Springing Forward: Daylight Matters

Almost 100 years ago, the concept of Daylight Saving Time, first conceptualized by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s to conserve candles, was implemented. Most of the United States still observes these annual shifts in time for the sake of electricity conservation. Research in the 1970s concluded national electricity usage decreases by 1% as compared to standard time. Electricity usage patterns have changed in the past fifty years with the use of household electronics and a more reliable electricity grid. Recent case studies discovered that daylight saving had little to no effect of electricity saving; a 2006 study in Indiana showed electricity usage rose by 1%, costing the state an extra $9 million. In October 2008, a report to congress concluded that for four weeks of daylight savings time, .5% (1.3 billion KwH) of electricity was saved per day, enough to power 100,000 households for a year. Due to conflicting information, many states are reconsidering whether to observe Daylight Saving time at all. 

Daylight Saving Time is a two sided argument. On one hand, the “spring forward” results in an 8-10% drop in automobile accidents, likely due to driving in daylight. Certain industries also benefit; the golf industry estimates $400 million in extra sales and fees are made due to the time change. After work shopping also becomes more prevalent, giving businesses more sales. On the other hand, disruption of the biological clock increases the chance of a heart attack and workplace injuries. Nevertheless, the practice is here to stay. 

Daylight Saving Time began Sunday March 8 at 2:00 AM. 

Read more here: 

Get Ready, Get Set, Spring Forward (Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey)

Studies Cast Doubt on Value of Daylight Saving Time (Wall Street Journal, Jo Craven McGinty)

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Ethica Burt works with CR as a Marketing Fellow. She is in her final semester as an undergraduate of George Washington University where she studies International Business and Sustainability. As a fellow she focuses on researching consumer issues whilst also bringing awareness to the organization as a whole.

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