This is a story about savings … and of waste. Or, maybe it is of waste only or only of savings or perhaps neither. My intent here is to hopefully make a definitive determination by story’s end. Really, what this story is about is time.
More specifically, the time I’m referring to, or should I say, “times,” are Daylight Savings and Standard, and what affect each of these may or may not have on the quality of air. Is this beginning to make more sense now?
Each spring and autumn, most states, California included, observe time changes (or adjustments to time). Good, bad or indifferent, they happen regardless. But, what if making said alterations do more harm than good? Then what might be in order is reconsideration of these changes.
Now, I know for a fact, the state of Arizona doesn’t observe these and the question that comes to mind is: Why not?
Good air/bad air time-change conundrum
So, in this regard, what does Arizona know that most other states may not?
If you live in the United States and are old enough to read and understand this, then you are fully aware that in autumn somewhere around the end of October, beginning of November and without fail, again in most states, we are reminded to turn our time pieces back. The same holds true for the end of March, beginning of April when, once more, we’re reminded to set our clocks, watches, etc. an hour ahead. The former: in observance of Standard Time – Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. The latter: in observation of Daylight Time (here again for the four regions affected). By doing such, is this harming, helping or has it no effect on air quality at all?
Take the living situation I’m in, for example. During these colder climes during the overnight hours, my thermostat is set at 64 degrees. Unless the temperature drops enough, the heater stays off. So, when the shift from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time takes effect an extra hour is gained. (Fall back, is how I remember which way to turn the clock). If the heater doesn’t come on at all during this time, then there is no additional electricity draw by my home even with the extra hour added in.
But, my living situation may not be representative of most. It might very well be that most people set thermostats higher and/or the outside temperature may be colder which could dictate that heating systems turn on and off more frequently during the nighttime. If this is the case, this could place more demand on the electric grid and supply and this being the situation, if generating this electricity is not done renewably, that is, sans fossil fuels, and factoring in the extra hour because of observance of the time change, the end result could be increased pollutant emissions entering the air.
Okay, given – and understanding – this, you may now be thinking that just the opposite occurs during the spring switch whereby an hour is subtracted during the overnight hours (spring forward, is how I remember that). Well, how about it? At any rate, should this be the case, then all would balance or equal out, right? Or, could it be there are additional other factors that also need to be considered?
Good, bad or indifferent, I am still curious as to why Arizona, for one, doesn’t make the double switch in time when most states do. There is obviously a reason for their not switching. Question is: What is it? It would be interesting to know if by not switching compared to observing the two time changes, there is any energy savings. Moreover, I believe it would also be helpful if any studies have been done in this area and what the findings of those (assuming some have been done) are.
If I am correct, in this regard California is contemplating abandoning the double switch.
Whatever works best
The way that benefits air is the one I support, my living situation notwithstanding.