2014 Study finds daylight savings time (DST) actually uses more electricity

Daylight Savings Time (DST) is promoted as a tool to conserve energy. However, ex post reduced form estimates of the effects of DST find no evidence of energy savings and find some evidence of a small increase in energy use.

In Behavioral responses to Daylight Savings Time, ( see Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 107, Part A, November 2014, Pages 290–307) Alison L. Sexton and Timothy K.M. Beatty investigates this disconnect using detailed individual time use data to look at the behavioral effects of DST.

The authors of the paper looked at data from the American Time Use Survey, a giant, federally administered national study on how Americans spend their time. They looked at more than 88,000 survey responses between 2003 and 2011 of people who answer on a weekday one week before or after the DST went into effect.

We see that on average individuals sleep for 15–20 min less and spend most of that extra time awake and at home. This will encourage additional use of both lighting and heating energy during that–colder and darker–period

They found cautious evidence that during the DST shift in the Spring (when the impacts were the most pronounce) that individuals are shifting potentially energy intensive activities earlier in the day, which is consistent with earlier findings of increased energy usage.

For the full report see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268114000821