On Sunday the 31th, we are going to change our clocks and we will have to wait until March 2022 to change the hour again. But, why do we need to change our clocks twice a year? This habit finds its roots back in time and it is fundamental to make the most out of daylight.
1. The History
This practice was conceived by Benjamin Franklin in the essay called “An economical Project” written during his sojourn in Paris, and published by his friend Cadet de Vaux. The essay addressed the thrift of natural versus artificial lighting. A new oil lamp conception brought him to write the article in which he focused on the concern of the amount of oil used in relation to the quantity of light produced.
One day, he suddenly woke up, it was 6 a.m. and the light was invading his room. He thought the source was the lamp, but instead, it was the sun. He discovered the sun was rising every morning earlier until the end of June. In his almanac, he proposed that Paris citizens wake up earlier in the morning to benefit from the sunlight in order to decrease the number of candles and save energy. This proposal was officially taken in 1907 by William Willett, who proposed the application to the Chamber of Commons in United Kingdom.
2. Daylight Saving Time today
Not every country changes the clocks and some have different change hours. Indeed, for those who live near the equator, the day and night last the same amount of time (12hrs), but the nearer you live to the North or South Pole the longer is the period of daylight in the summer. This practice is known to be useful to save energy and in 1975 the Department of Transportation showed that electricity usage was saved 1% per day, little but significant amount.
According to Web Exhibits, “some argue that there is a public health benefit to Daylight Saving Time, as it decreases traffic accidents. Several studies in the U.S. and Great Britain have found that the DST daylight shift reduces net traffic accidents and fatalities by close to one percent. An increase in accidents in the dark mornings is more than offset by the evening decrease in accidents”.
3. When do we change?
- United States (each time zone switches differently) Daylight Saving Time at starts at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November.
- European Union (Same everywhere) Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. (Greenwich Time) Last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October.