Daylight Savings or Disaster Pavings?

A Brief and Somewhat Grumpy Look at #DST:

“Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Benjamin Franklin

 

oragne_spring_DST

Feeling a bit groggy since #DST (Daylight Savings Time) started? You’re not the only one! We all lost an hour yesterday, but that’s not all. Many of us have been late for our fair share of events because of #DST. A few of us may have even had accidents, health problems, or even depression as a result of #DST. But we did it in the name of energy conservation. Or did we?

bw_clock_DST#DST policies started getting adopted around WWI to conserve energy from burning incandescent lights, but modern heating /cooling usage patterns and our fast-fast-faster lifestyles might have thrown a cog in that plan.

According to Aries and Newsham in the Effect of daylight saving time on lighting energy use, #DST in supposed to reduce national electricity use by “around 0.5%, as a result of residential lighting reduction.” However, “…there are just as many studies that suggest no effect, and some studies suggest overall energy penalties, particularly if gasoline consumption is accounted for.

Surprisingly, the possibility that #DST increases energy use is nothing new. In fact, a natural experiment done in Indiana during the mid-1970s suggests just that. After crunching data from over 7 million observations spanning three years, Kotchen and Grant found that “…contrary to the policy’s intent — #DST increases residential electricity demand.” They estimated the overall increase to be “approximately 1 percent,” and also estimated social costs of increased pollution emissions ranging from “$1.7 to $5.5 million per year.”

Ok, so we may or may not be moving backwards when it comes to #DST, but at least our intentions are good; so where’s the “Disaster Pavings” part? Surprisingly, the lack of sleep caused by #DST during the “Spring Forward” part (the one we just went through) leads to an increase in traffic accidents, heart attacks, and accidental deaths! Take a look:

stanley_coren_article_DST
Summary – Records of all accidental deaths in the USA for a 3-yr. period suggest that the minimal sleep loss associated with the spring forward shift to Daylight Savings Time produces a short-term increase of the likelihood of accidental death, while the fall shift has little effect.

 

Alright, one more quote-for-thought. Consider this little tidbit from chronobiologist Bora Zivkovic his article on #DST for Scientific American:

“Chronobiologists who study circadian rhythms know that for several days after the spring-forward clock resetting – and especially that first Monday – traffic accidents increase, workplace injuries go up and, perhaps most telling, incidences of heart attacks rise sharply. Cases of depression also go up.”

 

So, I know I’ve focused almost exclusively on the bad things about #DST, but I can blame that on being grumpy due to that hour of sleep I’m missing.

What do you think?

Is #DST effective?

Should we keep the Daylight Savings Time policy in the United States & abroad?

 

I’ll leave you with a map of the world showcasing

which countries adhere to

#DST policies:

dst_world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time#History

 

References:
* Myriam B.C. Aries, Guy R. Newsham, Effect of daylight saving time on lighting energy use: A literature review, Energy Policy, Volume 36, Issue 6, June 2008, Pages 1858-1866, ISSN 0301-4215, 10.1016/j.enpol.2007.05.021. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421507002273) Keywords: Daylight saving time (summer time); Energy use; Lighting
 
* STANLEY COREN (1996) ACCIDENTAL DEATH AND THE SHIFT TO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. Perceptual and Motor Skills: Volume 83, Issue , pp. 921-922.
 
* Mark J. Kamstra, Lisa A. Kramer and Maurice D. Levi: The American Economic Review. Vol. 90, No. 4 (Sep., 2000), pp. 1005-1011
 
* ROBERT A. HICKS, KRISTIN LINDSETH, and JAMES HAWKINS (1983) DAYLIGHT SAVING-TIME CHANGES INCREASE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS. Perceptual and Motor Skills: Volume 56, Issue , pp. 64-66.
 
* Matthew J. Kotchen & Laura E. Grant, 2011. “Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Indiana,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1172-1185, 04.