Energy Musings, as the Sun Goes Down

By November 2, 2008Energy

The U.S. Senate convened on Thursday, one of the twice weekly pro forma sessions meant to prevent President Bush from making recess appointments. We see that Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) presided over the 8 second session. Eight seconds!

Doesn’t seem all that environmentally sensitive, does it, holding a session that lasts for a few seconds. You’ve got all the fixed costs of a session: powering  up the lights, TV and sound systems, making sure to have staff on hand, etc. etc. Then there’s the printing of The Congressional Record, all the paper and ink.

Well, perhaps the next Senate won’t feel the need for these prophylactic gatherings. Leadership can shelve them and declare energy savings…

Meanwhile, it’s back to Standard Time. From TNR’s The Plank:

Is Daylight Savings Time A Total Waste?

Daylight Saving Time ends today—but should we scrap it once and for all? It’s doubtful that DST actually helps us conserve energy, which was the original logic. Here are a raft of studies on the subject: Most find that while households do use less lighting during DST, thanks to the longer, brighter afternoons, they also end up cranking up the A/C more, which makes it either a wash or a net loser for energy use. (Hey, if that’s the case, maybe we should just permanently set our clocks back two or three hours and live in darkness so that we can really start conserving…) On the, er, bright side, it’s possible that DST reduces traffic fatalities and even violent crime, so perhaps it’s not a total waste.

Come to think of it, didn’t the 2005 Energy Policy Act require the Department of Transportation to conduct a study on the energy savings of expanded DST?

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