Does Daylight Saving Time even save energy? Spring forward on energy efficiency anyways!

Daylight Saving Time has been used in the U.S. since World War I in an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. But how much energy does Daylight Saving Time actually save?

March 8, 2020

In 2008, The United States Department of Energy Department examined the impact of the extended Daylight Saving Time on energy consumption in the United States and found that Daylight Saving Time saved about 0.5% in total electricity per day. While this might not sound like a lot, it adds up to electricity savings of 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours—or the amount of electricity used by more than 100,000 households for an entire year.

Although Daylight Savings Time saves electricity used for lighting, another report from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the time change causes a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling, stating that Daylight Savings actually increases residential electricity demand.

Despite what experts argue, you can spring forward with energy savings on your own. Here are some easy-to-do spring energy savings tips:

Embrace the fresh spring air by cleaning your air conditioning/HVAC filters

Over the winter unused A/C units gather dust and debris, which can strain the components necessary to make your system work efficiently. This spring, remove any leaves and debris from inside and around your unit, ensure all the grills and vents are unobstructed, and replace your unit’s air filter to ensure your unit isn’t overworking and using excess electricity.

Look for the energy-efficient products when shopping

Looking to upgrade some appliances around the house for spring cleaning? Don’t simply look for the best deal on the shelf; you can save even more if you let energy efficiency drive your decision. In 2017 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans avoid $30 billion in energy costs. The next time you’re in the store or shopping online, look for the EPA’s WaterSense label or ENERGY STAR certification.

Retire those old light bulbs and replace them with LEDs

Increase the life of your light bulbs by investing in energy-efficient LED and CFL bulbs, which use 75-80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. As your light bulbs need replacing, consider efficient light bulbs to save you energy and money! Easily find the LED lights you need on BuildingClean.org.

Adjust your smart thermostat to for spring

The weather is changing as we move into spring and so are our schedules. Since you will likely be spending more time outside the house, program your smart thermostat accordingly. You can save big by adjusting the temperature in the house a couple degrees while you’re sleeping or away. It’s hard to remember to do it every day; a smart thermostat can be programmed to remember when you are gone and take care of the hassle for you!

Use shades to block direct sunlight from heating your home

The sun is a great way to allow light and heat into your home during the winter months, but as outside temperatures rise the sun’s heat can become unbearable. Close your shades and blinds when you are away from home to block direct sunlight from beaming in and heating up your living space.

Let your dishwasher do the dishes, stop handwashing

Dishwashers consume less water per load than washing dishes by hand, 3 gallons instead of a whopping 27! Handwashing dishes can use up to 5,000 more gallons of water annually compared to using an Energy Star rated dishwasher. Quickly find certified, American-made dishwashers using BuildingClean.org.

Change your ceiling fan setting to run counterclockwise

When ceiling fans are moving counterclockwise they are pulling heat from the room towards the ceiling, allowing the cooler air to make the room more comfortable. If you switch your ceiling fan to clockwise in the winter to get the opposite effect, a winter energy efficiency best practice, make sure you switch it back in the spring.  A ceiling fan can make a room feel several degrees cooler, especially when used in conjunction with an air conditioner.