March 3, 2020

Brace yourselves, Greenwich. Sunday is the springing-forward day when everyone loses an hour’s sleep.  Just when we adjusted ourselves to the extra day that this February brought us. Unlike February 29th, where we really did get 24 extra hours—masterminded by Julius Caesar--  the night isn’t really an hour shorter—but if a church service or some other time-certain event is scheduled for your Sunday morning, it might as well be.

Where Greenwich real estate matters are concerned, showings and open houses are daylight-dependent, so monkeying around with what time sunrise and sunset occur is serious business. You probably assume there is a definite reason why the U.S. bothers with the spring and autumn resetting of the clock ordeal.  Well, that assumption would be wrong. Historically, the rationale behind the clock change was to save fuel—but it turns out that the rationale is anything but rational. 

The Hoosiers of Indiana are known to be hard-headed when it comes to paying attention to when and why the workday begins. Anybody who’s familiar with having to get up before dawn to milk the cows will be sympathetic. In 2011, Indiana’s (apparently irritated) state officials conducted a statewide experiment, recounted scientifically by the environmentalists at Yale. To quote from their summary:

“Our main finding is that, contrary to the policy’s intent, Daylight Savings Time increases electricity demand.” 

What happens, according to Yale, is that although “springing forward” does indeed reduce the demand for lighting, the resulting increases in heating and cooling more than offset the savings. In 2011, Indiana’s extra expense came to about $9 million a year.

As for our own Connecticut state cost, no similar experiment has yet been proposed. It’s hardly a front-burner issue, though—so life will go on with the minor annoyance of adjusting to a time change a couple of times a year.

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