WEST MICHIGAN– In case you haven’t heard yet, this is the weekend when we “fall back” one hour with our clocks Saturday night/Sunday morning. We officially go from Eastern Daylight Time to Eastern Standard Time. But what’s the reasoning behind it?
The idea of saving or maximizing daylight is not new. It was originally proposed back in the late 1800s and was officially used in Germany and Austria in 1916 as a way to offer everyone more light in the evening hours and less during the morning hours. There are many pros and cons on both sides of the fence, but suffice to say Daylight Saving Time was widely used across the United States in the 1950s and 1960s and became increasingly popular and important during the energy crises in the 1970s.
At least part of the idea of DST was to save on energy/utility bills. About four to five percent of electricity used in the United States is for residential lighting. The thought is/was that less artificial light would be used in the evening versus morning when we delay sunrise and sunset times by moving our clocks forward. For it to work, that would mean evening reduction would have to outweigh the increased usage during the morning hours before sunrise occurs. The thought is that it does, especially in higher latitudes during the summer when many people tend to wake after sunrise.
Regardless of which side you take, the change occurs this weekend back to normal standard time. Perhaps the biggest misconception about the whole process is that somehow by shifting the clock, people are changing the number of hours of daylight. Not so! What is changing is how society organizes itself to take advantage of time. Not everyone in the United States makes the switch. The exceptions are Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas who never changed their clocks in the first place.
The attached snapshot shows the entire world and the areas/countries that use DST are in blue. Orange represents areas that no longer use DST, and red indicates locations that never use DST. Don’t forget, you should always change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors too!
While the first couple of days in our new time will be dry, another mid-week soggy situation is unfolding on Wednesday. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.