Daylight Wasting Time

Last Sunday morning the clocks magically jumped ahead an hour. It is Spring, and everyone adjusts to losing an hour of sleep. Wait, it’s not everyone. Arizona and Hawaii don’t jump ahead in Spring. So there is no need to fall back in Autumn, either.

clockWhen my friends discover this, they are horrified at Arizona’s defiance of “the law.” Arizona is sort of an entrepreneurial place.  And we care about the fine distinction–it’s not a law, it’s a convention. And the reason for the time change, saving money, doesn’t work here. Daylight Savings time was instituted to save energy costs by giving us more daylight at the end of the day. No one seemed to notice that it is darker in the morning. And that’s the reason Daylight Savings Time doesn’t work in Phoenix. We have quite enough sun at the end of the day, thank you.

The energy we save in lighting is more than overtaken by the energy we need to cool and heat our houses. And summer is the big cooling season in Arizona. Our weather has a natural 25-30 degree swing every day. In other words, if you add 25 or 30 degree to the low temperature, you will get the high for that day. Now, we are dipping into the 40s at night,digital clock and the mid-70s in the day. It’s lovely. In a few months, the daily low will be 80 and the high 110, and in August it doesn’t get much below 90 and soars to 120 in the late afternoon. When people complain, I often wonder “It’s the Sonoran desert floor, what were you expecting?”

I don’t think the rest of the nation saves a lot by switching the clock. I used to have a lot of trouble adjusting to the time change, and so did the cats, who wanted to be fed no matter what the clock said. There’s a great folk saying: “Using Daylight Saving Time is like cutting off 12 inches of the top of the blanket and sewing it on at the bottom to make it longer.”

So Phoenix saves an enormous amount in heating and cooling energy by not going on Daylight Savings Time. Studies have shown that the rest of the nation saves about $3 a year per household in electricity through Daylight Savings Time. Don’t spend it all at once.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and business communication trainer. See her work at