U.S. Congress passed and authorized the use of time zones and daylight saving time 101 years ago today, March 19.
According to the Original U.S. Law of March 19, 1918, “an act to save daylight and to provide standard time, for the United States,” was enacted. Daylight saving time (DST) in the U.S. begins around 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, when time “springs forward” and “falling backwards” in November to the standard time of location.
The original use of DST was to conserve energy during the wars of World War I and II. The benefits of this ordinance now are to have longer hours for businesses, reduce the idea of crime and have more playtime for children, according to Global Vacation Network.
However, not all places in the United States or its territories observe DST, such as Arizona and Hawaii. The sunrise and sunset times in Hawaii don’t fluctuate much and since the concept of DST is to make use of natural light, Hawaii already does so by being so close to the equator.
Is this “lose sleep, gain sunlight” theme effective? According to Scientific American, “although daylight time reduces demand for household lighting, researchers suggest that it increased demand for cooling on summer evenings and heating in early spring and late fall mornings.”
Even researchers find themselves on the fence about how effective following DST actually is. “Researchers concluded, daylight savings time does save on electricity for lighting but it also increases the use of electricity for heating and cooling,” according to Live Science.
This year in Michigan, DST started March 10 and will return to standard time November 3.