The Americans Broke Time

November 4th, 2007 by Potato

So one country pretty much unilaterally changed the way we implement the dubious daylight savings time system.

Yes, the Americans broke time.

The effects were felt this Halloween as it didn’t get dark until a full hour after it usually did, so we didn’t get any really cute, really little kids (who are usually tuckered out and ready for bed by 7:30, when our first trick-or-treater came around this year). Of course, this was also our first Halloween in this house, so we couldn’t say for sure that the screwy change in when it gets dark was responsible for that, or if it’s just a characteristic of the neighbourhood.

I like daylight savings time — that is, summer time. If it didn’t screw with Halloween, I wouldn’t mind it running late. Since I’m not much of a morning person, I much prefer to have daylight in the afternoon. I dislike waking up in the dark, and imagine most people do too, but I also dislike being stuck at work until after dark. The few times I do wake up early in the winter, an hour here or there often wouldn’t make a difference: it’s dark. The energy saving rationale, while hard to ascertain for certain, doesn’t seem to hold water any more. Air conditioning use accounts for way more energy than lighting in the summer, and while heating/cooling is closer to neutral in the fall (so lighting might be a factor), it’s also a period of very low energy demand in general for that reason. So, there isn’t as much of a benefit to screwing with schedules this year to save energy in the fall, since that’s one of the few times of the year when most of the generating is baseline (hydroelectric, nuclear, etc).

And I hate the return to “standard time” (odd that it’s named that, since the majority of the year falls under DST). The extra hour one night in the fall, ok, I like that. And it’s a much easier shift to work into the sleep schedule. But I just don’t like it getting dark so early!

Maybe Saskatchewan has it right after all: year-long DST.

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