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OPINION

Loup Brefort: The Early Bird Catches the Worm

March 25, 2013


Loup Brefort B92 Blog



What do you think about getting up an hour earlier? Would you do it if Serbia can thus save some 100 million Euros annually?

The change I am talking about has nothing to do with the so called “winter” and “summer” time. What I have in mind is that Serbia changes time zone in which it lives.

Europe is, and will remain by far the main economic partner for Serbia. However, as growth in Western Europe slows down, Serbia is looking East to find new trade and investment partnerships. Maybe it should do the same for its time zone, and it would also make economic sense?

Let me explain. I am sure many of you are aware that Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey operate in a time zone which is an hour ahead of Serbia. And yet, on March 21, 2013 sun rose at 6.28 AM in Sofia, and sunset was at 18.40 PM. On the same day the sun rose at 5.37 AM in Belgrade, and sunset was at 17.52 PM.  So Belgrade had day light before Sofia, and the darkness set upon the city while there was still light in Bulgaria. In both, the day lasted a bit over 12 hours.

Nevertheless, by the time you woke up, Bulgarians were already an hour ahead of you. In the evening, while you were still watching TV, or meeting friends in restaurants, discoes or coffee shops, Bulgarians were already in bed. And the same goes true for Greeks, Romanians or Turks.

Why does this matter? Well, if people started and finished their day one hour earlier, as do our neighbors to the East (in the time zone sense), they would save energy (electricity, heating, cooking…). It is estimated that Serbia can thus save around 100 million Euros annually just by changing the time zone it operates in. The savings, of course, can be even bigger if streets, houses, apartments, restaurants and other buildings would be lighted by bulbs which save energy.

Don’t you think it’s worth it? And aligning one’s time zone to that of our eastern neighbors has nothing to do with a “political” move. It is just plain economic good sense to save on household, enterprises and Serbia’s energy bills.


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