Sunday, March 11, 2007

SPRING FORWARD - Daylight Saving Time

I made this picture of a street clock on Fifth Avenue yesterday, a day before Daylight Saving Time (DST) takes into effect. It's Spring forward! Fast forward that is. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST in the U.S. Beginning in 2007, DST begins at 2:00 AM on the second Sunday of March (instead of first Sunday of April) and ends at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday of November. Clocks spring forward by one hour. Should the change prove unpopular or if the energy savings are not significant, Congress may revert to the 1986 law.

The main purpose of DST is to make better use of daylight. DST "makes" the sun "set" one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. This means that less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day. We also use less electricity because we are home fewer hours during the "longer" days of spring and summer because of outdoor activities. Opponents of DST claim that people just like to enjoy long summer evenings, and that reasons such as energy conservation are merely rationalizations. However, DST does save energy. Studies done by the US Department of Transportation show that DST trims the entire country's power usage by a small but significant amount. When we reset our clocks for DST, it is also a good time to change the battery in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as recommended by the the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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