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Saving Some Sun

Clocks_at_Greenwich.jpg Daylight Saving Time (DST) comes three weeks early this year. It traditionally begins the first Sunday in April. But the Energy Policy Act of 2005 added four weeks to DST, moving the start date up to Sunday, Mar. 11, and extending it by one week in the fall, to Sunday, Nov. 4.

DST was first observed in the U.S. during World War I as a way to save energy. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which provided that any state or territory observing DST must do so on the same dates. Any state could, by law, exempt itself from DST.

Here are some quick facts about Daylight Saving Time, from the 2007 World Almanac and other sources:

  • Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that do not observe DST. The Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, however, does follow DST.
  • Government studies from the 1970s showed that observing daylight saving time led to a 1% reduction in the nation's electricity usage each day.
  • California released a study in 2001, which concluded that there would be a 0.5% daily reduction in electricity use in the winter and a 0.2% daily reduction in electricity use in the summer if daylight saving time were to be applied year-round.
  • European Union member nations observe what's called Summer Time, from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October.
  • Neither Japan nor China observe any form of daylight saving time.
  • Countries in the Southern Hemisphere have DST generally from October through March.
  • Because countries near the equator get roughly equal amounts of sunlight throughout the year, they do not deviate from standard time.
  • Benjamin Franklin first suggested daylight saving time in an essay.
  • Despite what I, and I'm sure many others, would like to say, it's called "Daylight Saving Time," not "Daylight Savings Time."
  • When DST ends at 2 a.m., Amtrak trains account for the time change by stopping for one hour before resuming service.

Links:
Worldwide Daylight Saving (WebExhibits.org)
Saving Time, Saving Daylight (California Energy Commission)
Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time, by David Prerau

Photo: "Clocks at Greenwich Market" by Beachy

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 9, 2007 11:17 AM.

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