Ok so let me just say before I get on my rant here, I believe we each can do something each day to be more “GREEN”. I want to try to save this planet that I love and live on. I don’t litter and I try to do what I can when I remember. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Green Ambassador or anything like that. But, I do try in my own way. So, now, on to my rant!
I was at a client’s office the other day and we were discussing a project we were currently working on and a few other ideas we had to help save them some money with their IT needs. When he asked me about something called Blackle. I first thought it was some sort of TV show or a new computer program. He told me that it was a new “Green Friendly Search Engine”. Well at that point, I wanted to know more. I mean how can going to a web page and searching for “Great Pizza joint Charleston, SC” be any greener then using a phone book? See, he is on a committee to help their company become greener and he had heard about this site, and he wanted to know my thoughts, before he dove into it as well. Someone had sent it to him too. He showed me the site and explained to me what the claim was. This is from their website, “Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black.” They also quote a government article on power saving and Engery Star but the author emphasises that the effects are more for CRT displays rather than LCDs. I was really confused at first, and then it turned to aggravation. I really believe that some of the world just doesn’t think. I mean how many Pink Elephants go dancing across my screen, if I sent this email to 24 of my Friends in the next 10 minutes? Try it now. Oh it REALLY WORKS!!! I tried it too!!! Yeah right! This is what I am talking about too many people jump on the bandwagon before they check the facts. I think that is why TV works for so many people. You hear it from someone you trust and then you trust it. This is how viruses attack. I won’t go into to all of that, it’s a totally different post.
Blackle was developed to reduce the amount of energy that your computer uses when searching the internet. They also want to remind the user to save energy and do your part. How many times a day do you open up Google, MSN, Bing or (insert your search engine here)? I open Google at least 50 or 60 times a day. If you have not already taken a look at their site, it is simply Google’s search engine, wrapped in a black background. By doing this, they can save the planet one computer at a time. This is what the site claims anyways. To the computer users that do not know how display technology works, it sounds like it makes sense. If you show black on a screen, that means the light is off, and thus you save money when the lights go off. Right? I can’t count how many times my parents said, “Turn your lights off!” So the site works right?! Not quite. It actually takes more energy to use this site. The reason is that LCD is a pass thorugh light technology. That is MY term for it. Light passes through a panel that changes colors. The panel does not display light itself. The light is ALWAYS on, until you turn off your computer. It is like your old digital watch. When you pressed the little button, to see the time in the dark, the light shined through the LCD display to show you 6:30 AM. Well this is the SAME thing! So if the battery was dead it did not work. In order for you to see the BLACK numbers, it had to have power. LCD displays work the same way. It take more energy to turn a LCD pixel black than it does to make it clear or white. White = NO POWER to the pixel. The darker the screen the more energy that is used to show the site. Different colors have different voltages that get applied to the screen. I am really focusing on LCDs since most people do not have 60″ plasma screens or CRTs as a computer monitor. All the color black is, is a bunch of pixels that are blocking the light from shining though the display. That is it! The video card has to tell the monitor to turn the pixels on and the monitor has to have the power to turn it on.
So to all you Environmentalist, KEEP USING GOOGLE. Plain old everyday Google and save the Earth one computer at a time! If you have a CRT, then do the world a favor and recycle it and buy a LCD monitor that is about as green as you can get. If you have an LCD then reduce the brightness on the screen from 100% to 60% or 70%. That is how you can be green.
If you want to read more about the LCD technology then take a look at these sites for more information: