Monday, December 29, 2008

energy, of the black kind

As noted before on this non-blog, many self-titled environmentalists have no idea what they're talking about. For instance, this blog came up with the idea that a "black Google" would save 750 MWh/year (that's about 86 kW) because black pixels supposedly take less power to display than white pixels. The guy apparently failed to note that only obsolete CRT monitors do that, initially stating a 3000 MWh/year figure (see it in the URL, he also admits it). Apparently, when he found out that LCDs actually use more energy to display black than white (this comment on his blog agrees) he changed the figure to 750, a commendable action. Even so, his calculation is highly approximative at best. So it's easy to campaign for stuff without having the slightest idea what's going on. As CRT displays are being slowly but surely replaced with LCDs, his black background idea is actually going to result in increased energy dissipation. It's true that OLED displays might eventually favor his idea, but the point is he did no serious studies before launching an idea that thousands of sheeple intercepted and praised, leading to sites such as this, which was brought to my attention today. Its about page (where I learned about the naive but honest guy's blog) is full of smug about how much it protects the environment, while its front page mentions how much energy it saved. I guess if we take the approx. 1MWh stated and multiply it by 0.6/15 (measured watts increase in LCD consumption versus stated CRT watts decrease) we get about 40 kWh of wasted energy. At least it's not very much.


frank said...

I use Black Google Mobile at to get a longer battery life on my phone and to reduce my data usage. I use it in Firefox on my computer too! On the newer OLED based screens you can use 4x less power having a black background instead of white! People who say black cannot save energy are out of date and do not account for all the OLED based devices that are in use now and growing fast in popularity. There is more information on this at Blackle is not mobile friendly at all and delivers search results with a white background on my phone!

Blackl said...

Might as well use the original black google as it also works for desktops... Here's a bit of reading
Much more reputable than the one you posted.