Due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Daylight Saving Time (DST) will result in changing the clocks on the second Sunday in March and then back on the first Sunday in November beginning this year.

Before you think too hard about when we have been making the change, it has traditionally taken place on the first Sunday in April (since 1986) and on the last Sunday in October. That means under the new requirements, we’ll spend an extra month in DST.

The problem is you are going to have to do a little more than mark it on your calendar. With the current state of technology, many building systems are automated. This includes lighting control systems, HVAC, security systems, etc., and those automated features are usually dependent on time. Moreover, the problem resides in programming.

Manufacturers, such as Square D, are offering software upgrades for contractors to download. After downloading the programs, contractors will only need to apply the changes.

If it creates a problem, then why is the government enacting this change? In 2001, California requested federal permission for states to stay in DST year round. The reason was that California’s Energy Commission released a study showing DST saved energy. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation conducted a study in the 1970s that showed we cut the nation’s electricity usage by 1 percent every day when observing DST. With more hours of daylight, we use less electrical lighting, and we are out of the house more, according to California’s study.

Most of the United States observes Daylight Saving Time. The exceptions are Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona. Be prepared for your current or former building automation customers to call you and ask for this update.     EC