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Monday, June 09, 2008

Does Black Color Really Save Energy ?

image So much of analysis is done on colors. Research says that black back ground color saves much energy than white back ground color.

As per DOE Energy Star Desktop Information ”White and bright colors (especially in backgrounds) can use up to 20% more power than black or dark colors.“

Blackle supports that concept and came up with search engine with back background to save energy. It basically uses google custom search with black background color. “Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black… We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy.” says Blackle.

However Google says opposite to this. About saving the energy, Google says that

“One idea, suggested by the site called "Blackle" (which is not related to Google, by the way, though the site does use our custom search engine), is to reduce energy used by monitors by providing search with a black background. We applaud the spirit of the idea, but our own analysis as well as that of others shows that making the Google homepage black will not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results from a new study confirm this.”

This seems to be contradictory statement with Google’s own decision to turn it’s back ground color to black on earth hour.

Irrespective of whether black background will save some energy or not, to support the effort to save energy SmashingFeeds.com, a simple online news aggregator, changed it’s back ground color to black. More details about this new design can be found on the blog.


bikiassam said...

There are around 23 different versions of “black google” online. The best one I’ve found is www.cleanblack.com. Cleanblack is the only version that allows you to change the text colors of the google search results. Try it yourself by going to www.cleanblack.com/theme/

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Enough of the black screen conspiracy theories. The idea that switching to black web page backgrounds can meaningfully reduce power drain on non-CRT monitors has been pretty widely debunked.

Google "went dark" on Earth Hour out of visual solidarity with Earth Hour actions that ask people to switch off lights, i.e. go dark. (http://i-stuff.blogspot.com/2008/06/does-black-color-really-save-energy.html)

Per Google, "As to why we don't do this permanently - it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display."

Propagating pseudoscientific rumors like this is deeply counterproductive. Can you please do 30 seconds of online research before trying to make misleading unqualified statements like "Research says that black back ground color saves much energy than white back ground color."

tshack said...

It's fairly simple. The backlight in an LCD is always on, regardless of the color being displayed. The different colors you see are produced by the LCD filtering the white light provided by the backlight in the unit. The LCD is, essentially, a voltage controlled light filter that sits in front of the backlight. It requires some control voltage to make the otherwise clear liquid crystal filter certain wavelengths of light. This is where the conjecture of using black actually increases power usage originates, and while this may be true... if you were to take the ratio of power being used to drive the LCD filter to the power being used to drive the backlight you would find that the power required to drive the backlight dominates by several orders of magnitude. The power required to operate the LCD filter is a mere drop in the power budget bucket at that point.


frank said...

Nice article! I use Black Google Mobile at http://bGoog.com to get a better battery life on my smartphone and to reduce my data usage. I use it on my dekstop browser too! On the newer OLED based screens you can use over 4x less power having a black background instead of white! The old Google blog post is out of date and does not account for all the OLED based devices that are growing fast in popularity and now in use. There is more information on this at http://bGoog.com/about. Blackle is not mobile friendly and does not work correctly on my phone as it has white search results.

Mike said...

Frank, that does not work on desktops, it looks weird. Why not use http://www.blackl.com/black-google.php which can perform searches for desktops too. See their info http://www.blackl.com/black-google/
At least it's based on renewable energy.