Daylight Saving Time (DST) was originally created to conserve energy and allow people to take full advantage of the summer's longer daylight hours. However, the practice of observing DST in the summer months comes at a price when it’s time to set the clocks back to standard time each fall. Though many enjoy the extra hour of sleep, the days feel shorter and colder with the sun setting earlier each afternoon.
Tracking the History of Daylight Saving Time
Although the idea for DST was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin, it was not widely practiced until Germany implemented it at the beginning of World War I. Other European countries soon followed. Parts of the U.S. began observing DST as early as 1918, and it was mandatory during World War II to conserve resources. After the war, observance of DST in the U.S. was again optional. It was inconsistently observed across the country with the start and end dates varying among states. To minimize the confusion, the U.S. adopted The Uniform Time Act of 1966, which standardized (but did not mandate) the observance of DST for the states that choose to observe it.
On Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 a.m., most U.S. residents will turn back their clocks and "fall back" one hour to standard time. Most Americans--with the exception of those living in the few states and territories that do not observe DST, including Hawaii, Arizona and the Virgin Islands--look forward to gaining an hour of sleep.
Many people associate the return to standard time with the shorter, colder days ahead. Gone are the long days and late summer nights. Most Americans find themselves shrouded in darkness by dinnertime during the winter months. While some people love having the extra daylight in the summer evenings, not everyone is fond of the time change when it’s time to give back that hour in the fall. DST proponents argue that it saves energy by better utilizing the daylight during summer. However, the research is mixed on whether and how much energy is saved overall. The opposition argues that the time change alters sleeping patterns and reduces productivity in the workplace.
Fewer hours of daylight mean less solar lighting and heating is available. Some people argue that the practice of setting the clocks back actually increases energy use, as it forces them to turn on their lights earlier and turn up the thermostat. However, a radiant heating system can actually help homeowners save money and reduce energy consumption over time by adding heat to key areas of the home while keeping the thermostat set to a lower temperature throughout the house.
Even though daylight saving time signals the colder days and nights ahead, you can find solace and warmth with a home that includes radiant heat. While others may argue about the virtues and drawbacks of DST, when you are wrapped in cozy comfort with warm floors underfoot, you almost don’t mind hibernating until DST returns in the spring.