Study Shows Daylight Savings Time is a Waste of Energy

The U.S. state of Indiana has 92 counties, but until 2006 only 15 of them adjusted their clocks for daylight saving time, with the remainder keeping standard time all year. Then in 2006 the Indiana Legislature decided the entire state should adopt daylight saving time, beginning that spring.

This unique situation enabled professor of economics Matthew Kotchen and his PhD student Laura E. Grant to study how the adoption of daylight saving affected energy use. They studied over seven million electricity meter readings in southern Indiana every month for three years, and compared the energy consumption before and after the change.

The result of the study showed that electricity use went up in the counties adopting daylight saving time in 2006, costing $8.6 million more in household electricity bills. The conclusion reached by Kotchen and Grant was that while the lighting costs were reduced in the afternoons by daylight saving, the greater heating costs in the mornings, and more use of air-conditioners on hot afternoons more than offset these savings. Kotchen said the results were more “clear and unambiguous” than results in any other paper he had presented.

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