Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ok, Here's What We Learned About Being Green

Inquiring minds and all that you know, but one afternoon we were idling away the time when it suddenly popped into our head. Does an LCD monitor use more electricity when it is displaying all white or when it is displaying all black? Yes, that is what popped into our heads and thus was born the mini-quest for knowledge.

You may think it is obvious that a monitor must use more electricity when it is all white, but you have to remember, these monitors aren't your grandfather's monitors. We aren't talking about cathode ray tubes which turn on the electron beam (use electricity) when painting a portion of the screen that isn't the background color and turns it off when painting a portion of the screen that IS the background color. LCD monitors have a backlight that is always on and then little gremlins, thousands and thousands of little gremlins who live inside your monitor, open and close little light faucets that allow the backlight to shine through or not. So, maybe these little gremlins need more electricity when the valves are open or closed or who knows what?

So, off we went to Google on a quest to answer this question. And as usual, we found answers that indicated anything you want to believe. So as a result, we chose the answer that we wanted: LCD Monitors use less electricity when displaying a black screen than they do when displaying a white screen. Ok, we have a little bit of reason to think this might actually be the correct answer. We came across a search engine called "Blackle" which is located at and purports to have saved over a billion watt-hours of electricity by having a black background on their pages. In support of their claim, the provide a link to this study by researchers at the Energy Analysis Department, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California in Berkeley, California. And there on page 19, are the numbers. LCD monitors displaying a black screen use slightly less electricity than monitors displaying a white screen.

So, how does this make The Naked Whiz web site green? Dude! All of our screens have black backgrounds. Geez, we must have save a billion watt-hours ourselves! So. Be green! Visit our webpage. Be annoying. Write to web sites with white backgrounds and tell them to switch to black. We'll save this planet one pixel at a a time!

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