US time shift to save energy

Clocks became the latest weapons in America's technological war on climate change this weekend, when the country switched to summer time a week early to maximise the use of natural sunlight.

Longer sunlight cuts electricity use as people spend more of their evenings outside, leaving TVs, computers and sound systems switched off, as well as reducing the need for artificial lighting.

Clocks shifted forwards an hour across the US on Sunday as the country went into the “daylight saving time,” or summer-time, period a week earlier than in previous years.

It will return to winter-time on November 4th, three weeks later than usual, giving Americans four weeks’ worth of extra-long evenings in total.

The energy saving measure is part of the Energy Policy Act, written into law two years ago and designed to promote new energy technologies.

The change is expected to save almost 10.8 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions, and at least 4.4bn in energy bills by 2020, according to its authors.

“The change in the beginning of daylight saving time is just one step towards making our country more efficient in its usage of energy and conscious of our environment,” said Edward Markey, one the representatives behind the amendment that brought the sunlight-saving measure into the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

“Not only will Americans have more daylight at their disposal for four additional weeks in the year, but we will also see wide energy saving, less crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity.

“Ultimately, daylight saving just brings a smile to everybody’s faces,” he said.

Goska Romanowicz

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