27 OCTUBRE 2020

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Does the time change system help save energy?

El cambio horario ahorra energía

On October 25, here in Spain we had to turn the clock back one hour, 3:00 o’clock became 2:00 o’clock, to adapt to the usual winter time. But how does this time change benefit us?

Every year, since 1974, in Spain we apply the time change twice, in March and in October, to adapt to the winter and summer time. It has always been explained that this measure is taken to save energy so that, by adapting to the sunrise and sunset hours, we avoid the use of excess energy, a fact that is highly beneficial for the economy and environment. This energy saving should be noted in particular in industry and companies, since these are responsible for more than 80% of the overall electricity consumption.

The time corresponding to the Spanish time zone is one hour ahead of the time marked by the Greenwich meridian, i.e., (GMT +1), but in March we adapt to GMT +2 to benefit from this energy saving.

Is this energy saving real?

There is a difference of opinion on this time change in winter and summer. On one hand, agriculture and livestock sectors believe that the change to summer time (GMT +2) offers fewer hours of natural light in the mornings, giving rise to significant problems with their crops. However, studies show that during summer time, sectors such as the hotel industry and commerce use less artificial light.

In fact, the simplest answer is yes, although with certain conditions. According to the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving, IDAE: “results are difficult to interpret since they are heavily influenced by external factors, such as weather, geography, and user behavior.” So, although it is proven that adapting to a schedule that makes it easier for us to use natural lighting leads to energy savings, the use of heating and artificial lighting in homes also means an increase in energy and the cost of the same.

Overall, this represents a real saving of barely 6 euros per year on the energy bill.

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