We’re saving what, exactly?

Certainly not daylight: we have pretty much the same amount of it no matter how we jerk the clocks around.

And apparently not energy, either:

Focusing on residential electricity demand, we conduct the first-ever study that uses micro-data on households to estimate an overall DST effect. The dataset consists of more than 7 million observations on monthly billing data for the vast majority of households in southern Indiana for three years. Our main finding is that — contrary to the policy’s intent — DST increases residential electricity demand. Estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent, but we find that the effect is not constant throughout the DST period. DST causes the greatest increase in electricity consumption in the fall, when estimates range between 2 and 4 percent. These findings are consistent with simulation results that point to a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling. We estimate a cost of increased electricity bills to Indiana households of $9 million per year. We also estimate social costs of increased pollution emissions that range from $1.7 to $5.5 million per year. Finally, we argue that the effect is likely to be even stronger in other regions of the United States.

On the upside, you (or at least I) get the pleasure of driving to work in the dark a lot more often.

You can read the gory details here [link goes to PDF file] should you so desire.

(Via Coyote Blog.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    10 March 2009 · 8:42 am

    That extra hour of daylight at the end of the day would be just grand if I weren’t too exhausted to enjoy it.

    I don’t know why having to drive to work in the dark (after a couple weeks of it being light) feels like such an insult to me, it just does. I know it’s not rational but we humans are often not rational.

  2. McGehee »

    10 March 2009 · 9:19 am

    Driving to work in the dark never fazed me much — though when I moved to Alaska and found myself driving to work in the dark, and then driving home in the dark — on the same day, and on a part-time day at that — I think I kind of got over whatever issue I may still have had with it.

  3. unimpressed »

    10 March 2009 · 4:40 pm

    With the hours I work, it’s dark when I go to work regardless of the time of year or whether or not DST is in effect. I have always liked DST as I have more light in the evening to do whatever needs doing.

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