İTÜ Fixed The Clocks For A Energy-Saver and Happier Turkey
Sep 09, 2016

As of today, Turkey has abolished winter time and will stay on summer time all year round in order to make better use of daylight. The decision for the new setting came about as a result of a two-year project whose final four months in particular involved a hectic schedule and which involved extensive work on energy consumption data, economic indicators, and psychological and social assessments. We have discussed the benefits and possible implications of the new setting with Prof. Ahmet Duran Sahin, Chair of the Department of Meteorological Engineering and the coordinator of the project entitled “Analysis and Modeling of Summer Time Practice Based on Daylight Fluorescence, Daylight Utilization Time, and Electric Consumption Data” and Psychologist Cem Demirbas, the coordinator of ITU Psychological Guidance and Counseling Center, who was also involved in the project.

Prof. Ahmet Duran Sahin stressed that the project involved laborious efforts and teamwork of people from multiple disciplines. The professional and multidisciplinary character of the project manifests itself in the composition of the project team, which includes Assoc. Prof Hüseyin Toros of the Department of Meteorological Engineering, Research Assistant Nida Dogan and undergraduate students Ömer Akbal, Emre Çaliova and Akile Varol, who are also from the Department of Meteorological Engineering, Bihter Durna, Research Assistant at the Institute of Graduate Studies in Science, Technology, and Engineering, Assoc. Prof. Sencer Ecer of the Department of Economics, Aysu Kara, sociologist at ITU ARI Teknokent, Psychologist Cem Demirbas, Coordinator of ITU Psychological Guidance and Counseling Center, and Assoc. Prof. Ercan Izgi of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Yildiz Technical University.

“This change has not come about as a result of an immediate decision; on the contrary, it has come about through a two-year process involving extensive work on the issue. A series of comprehensive studies that involved 1 billion data was carried out to recommend such a change. In line with the agreement we signed with the General Directorate of Renewable Energy, who is the project holder, we used data-based scientific methods and carried out comparative analyses, which led to the consensus among the research team that staying on summer time was advisable. The expedition of the process was, to a great extent, possible with the keen interest Berat Albayrak, the Minister of Energy, took in the issue,” said Sahin.

The data reservoir tapped into for the work on daylight saving time included information on hourly electricity consumption of all spots in Turkey, collected between 2010-2016, and meteorological data on the country between this span of time. Utilising this enormous data reservoir, both theoretical and empirical investigations were carried out. “We are living in a country that encompasses a large area of land in a rectangular fashion. Turkey has a large east-west extension, which results in a time difference of 1 hour and 16 minutes between its East and West. Certainly, we took this into consideration in our study,” said Sahin.

What kind of changes will permanent summer time bring in relation to economy and international relations?

“A key consideration in nationwide energy planning should be the fact that energy consumption is the highest in western Turkey since industry and population are concentrated in this part of the country. Findings of the research carried out by our research team show that rather than energy conservation, winter time practice brought increased energy consumption. Since winter time practice increases energy consumption between 17:00-22:00, when electricity prices are the highest, both households and industrial premises will benefit from its abolishment. The new setting will have a positive effect on both the consumer and national economy. We can make this claim in the light of statistical analyses of energy consumption in three different work time periods: 08:00-17:00, 08:30-17:30, and 09:00-18:00. The comparison drawn between winter time and summer time electricity consumption figures for the period encompassing 2010-2016 revealed that switching to permanent summer time would enable energy conservation of 8.58% for the period when winter time is implemented while overall conservation would be 3.62%. This amount of electrical energy saving equals to annual electricity consumption of Konya,” answered Prof. Sahin.
Another example Prof. Sahin gave in order to illustrate the amount of energy to be conserved was that permanent summer time would help to save an amount of energy equal to the energy produced by fifty 30-MW wind farms or a hundred solar power plants with same installed power.

Regarding the claims that Turkey’s international relations will be adversely affected by the permanent summer time, Sahin gives examples from countries that have a larger east-west extension than Turkey, such as the US, with a 4-hour time difference between its east and west, Canada with 5 hours, and Russia with 11 hours, and states that time difference in these countries has not resulted in problems in the realm of international relations. According to Sahin, Turkey, which has a time difference of 1 hour and 16 minutes between its East and West due to longitude differences, can overcome possible problems.

What will be the psychological effects of permanent summer time?

While evaluating summer time and winter time practices, among the important considerations were people’s daily life rhythm and circadian biological clock. Our researchers working on these issues concluded that summer time would have positive effects on people’s psychological and biological rhythm since winter time caused people to start work one hour later and commute to their home in the dark. Psychologist Cem Demirbas commented on the issue, saying: “Daylight savings time transitions cause people to have physical and mental disturbances both in the short run and in the long run. Making best use of daylight becomes a major concern particularly during winter months, when daytimes shorten significantly. Increased duration of darkness increases the likelihood of winter depression. Due to winter time practice, most of us have to do a significant portion of our work in the evening. This situation results in various negative consequences such as increase in workplace accidents stemming from lack of sleep and concentration and many other biological rhythm problems. Permanent summer time will play a significant role in dealing with these problems”.

Abolishment of winter time heralds a new period that will allow us to see more sunshine and save energy. We hope the new setting will bring happiness, efficiency, and well-being for Turkey.

ITU Rector Prof. Mehmet Karaca and Prof. Ahmet Duran Şahin, Chair of the Department of Meteorological Engineering, explained the benefits and implications of permanent summer time practice in the television programme presented by Ece Uner at Haberturk television channel.