A recent study by researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) has found that daylight-saving time can contribute to climate protection by reducing the overall energy consumption of office buildings.
The study analyzed the impact of the time change on heating and cooling energy required for office buildings, and how climate change may affect this. The researchers hypothesized that employees start work an hour earlier in summer due to the time change and leave the office earlier in the afternoon, resulting in less cooling energy required as the cooling typically happens later in the day.
The researchers simulated the heating and cooling energy used with and without daylight-saving time for different climatic regions based on data from various office buildings in 15 US cities, including future climate scenarios up to 2050.
The results of the study showed that switching to daylight-saving time can reduce an office building’s cooling energy by up to almost six percent, with overall energy savings varying across the different climate zones and scenarios. Although the heating demand can increase by up to 4.4 percent due to the earlier start of work in the morning, the time change has a positive overall effect on the energy balance
of a building.
The researchers suggest that policymakers should consider the impact of the time change on the overall
energy balance of buildings when discussing the elimination of daylight-saving time. They also emphasize that technical improvements, behavioural changes, and a general adjustment of working hours can contribute to energy savings and CO2 reduction.