Will Early Daylight Savings Conserve Energy or Just Make You Cranky?

In an effort to reduce energy consumption, Daylight Savings is being moved up three weeks to March 11. So for the next month it looks like we're back in the dark, at least where morning routine and commute is concerned.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of having an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but I had just gotten used to the pleasure of waking up to sunshine. And by the sounds of all the projected trouble, from electronic malfunctions to whacked-out body clocks, it might not go very smoothly.

Expected energy savings

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates savings will reach $4.4 billion by 2020. The need to build three more power plants will be erased and about 10.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions will be prevented. Others point to reduced crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity.

Others say savings won't be so noticeable. More evening daylight allows people to shop, drive, BBQ and participate in other activities, some of which offset any benefits. In certain areas people won't be seeing sunrise until 8:30 a.m. meaning the home will still be lit up, but in the morning instead of at night. Even the Department of Energy isn't sure, saying information so far indicates very small savings. They plan to calculate exact amounts by the end of the cycle.

What's all this about Y2K?

It's a good thing Congress can revert to the old schedule if things don't work out, which will mean all the expensive equipment fixes being rushed into place with Y2K-esque hysteria will have to be redone.

Body clock mix-ups and stronger bones

Here's my real annoyance though. Some reports are saying lack of morning daylight will cause our biological clocks to stay in winter mode for longer, meaning some people will crave carbs and sweets, feel sluggish and suffer from headaches. On the other hand, being in Vitamin D rich sunlight later in the day can help make your bones stronger. I guess I'll wait and see how it goes.
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