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Blackle vs. Google Monitor Power Consumption Tested

Blackle vs. Google Monitor Power Consumption Tested - PCSTATS
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Abstract: Is the search page, Blackle.com, really an energy efficient alternative to Google? The theory is websites with black background save energy. PCSTATS finds out if this is a blatant green washing, or an earnest energy saving tweak for something we use every day.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Blackle Apr 02 2012   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Blackle

Is the search page, Blackle.com, really an energy efficient alternative to Google? The theory is websites with black background save energy. That claim is based on an assumption that "a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen." Is this a blatant green washed marketing ploy, or an earnest energy saving tweak for something we use every day?

To find out, PCSTATS hooked up an Extech Power Analyzer to a 19" CRT and a 19" LCD. One explorer window, set to full screen (1280x1024) was opened to each of the following websites. Blackle's claims appear to hold water, although the difference is just 17.7W and 3.8W for CRT and LCD respectively. What that adds up to over the course of a year, for every second you spend doing a search on Google is anyone's guess.

The resulting monitor power consumption to display a webpage fluctuated as shown below:

19" CRT ADI Microscan 19" LCD Samsung 192MP
Google.com 83.5 Watts 38.6 Watts
Blackle.com 65.8 Watts 34.8 Watts
PCSTATS.com 76.2 Watts 37.8 Watts

Testing the internet: where monitor power consumption is potentially wasted

Expanding on the Blackle.com vs. Google.com question further, how many website designers out there have considered the electrical impact of their creations on monitor power consumption? Few, I'd wager. PCSTATS certainly never considered this...

Before comparing Google vs. Blackle we wouldn't have thought that the colours used in web design would have a significant impact on energy consumed by the display device. Yet faced with the lower energy useage that Blackle.com proves is possible with crafty use of dull dark colours and stationary images, we got to wondering. What is the carbon footprint of some of the most popular websites out there? How about websites that focus on environmentally friendly design, products, lifestyles and energy sources? Are there websites which disseminate this timely and important information using an power sensitive colour scheme?

Search Engines - Measuring Website Energy Efficiency
(click to open) Website 19" CRT ADI Microscan E66 19" LCD Samsung 192MP
Blackle.com 65.8 W 34.8 W

Google.com

83.5 W 38.6 W
Live.com 82.7 W 38.5 W
Yahoo.com 81.2 W 38.9 W
Ask.com 81.6 W 38.4 W
AOL.com 81.6 W 38.8 W

I know, I know, this all sounds pretty ridiculous. But since PCSTATS has an electronic power meter which can actually measure the amount of energy it takes a monitor (LCD and CRT) to display any given website, we've actually got a valid set of criteria to look at.

Monitor Power Consumption - Black & White
19" CRT ADI Microscan E66 19" LCD Samsung 192MP
Reference - full screen white 85.1 W 38.4 W
Reference - full screen black
63.6 W 34.0 W

Solid Colours and Computer monitor power consumption

Darker shades seem to influence the power draw from monitors the least. Given the infinite variety of CRT colours, and the 16.7M shades an LCD display can represent, we're going to keep things simple. Using the 16 colours and shades below, we tested monitor power consumption with full screens of each colour. Here are the results:

Monitor Power Consumption - Solid Colours
(Full screen, solid colour)
Colour 19" CRT ADI Microscan 19" LCD Samsung 192MP
72.2W 37.2W
78.9W 38.7W
69.9W 37.6W
74.9W 38.9W
68.5W 37.4W
77.4W 38.2W

Greyscales and Computer monitor power consumption

Next we performed the same test with a few shades of greyscale.

Monitor Power Consumption - Greyscales
(Full screen, solid colour)
Grey 19" CRT ADI Microscan 19" LCD Samsung 192MP
84.9W 40.0W
76.8W 39.3W
70.8W 38.9W
69.8W 38.5W
66.3W 38.1W
63.5W 35.5W

Testing Websites and Monitor Power Consumption

Here are a few websites which we measured the monitor power consumption for. First up, the websites that promote industrial and green design.

Industrial and Sustainable Design - Measuring Website Energy Efficiency
(click to open) Website 19" CRT ADI Microscan E66 19" LCD Samsung 192MP
(1280x1024)
Core77.com 78.4 W 38.2 W
Inhabitat.com 76.4 W 38.3 W
Mocoloco.com 80.1 W 38.7 W
Treehugger.com 75.0 W 38.1 W

A full crop of review and technology websites are up next, then it's onto Social networking, News and Shopping related sites. When it comes to power consumption, which website is the worst on the wattage?

© 2014 PCSTATS.com
Please respect the time and effort that went into creating each PCSTATS Beginners Guide, do not illegally copy. Thank you.
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Contents of Article: Blackle
 Pg 1.  — Blackle vs. Google Monitor Power Consumption Tested
 Pg 2.  Website Influence on monitor power consumption

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