Black is the New Green: 10 Energy Saving Search Sites

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Black is the New Green.

At least, that’s the message of a movement sometimes referred to as Black Google.

The idea first appeared in a January 20th blog post by Mark Ontkush, where he examines how much energy could potentially be saved if Google’s background was black instead of white.

His findings? If Google, and only Google, were to change their background color to black, the world could save somewhere around 3,000 Megawatt-hours per year!

The post eventually rose to the top of Digg, and was followed up with another, and more complete, article that explains the science and the numbers behind the
idea.

How Does It Work?

Basically, computer monitors, especially the big clunky CRT monitors that take up most of your desk, consume more energy when the screen is white than when the screen is black. This has been shown to be true of CRT’s, LCD’s, and plasma displays, although the different technologies vary in power consumption.

As Ontkush points out, the savings is “a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.”

So Why Aren’t All Websites Black?

So why don’t web designers just do it and save us all that energy and money? It’s been shown that people will spend more time at a site done up in warm and welcoming colors than they will one that is primarily dark. What it comes down to is changing peoples’ expectations about how their screen should look.

Adjusting peoples’ expectations is always a difficult thing, but what if we began in the office instead of on he web? In the world of corporate and government organizations, where most of us sit at least 40 hours a week, we use the computer on ‘their’ terms. What would happen if these organizations simply started defaulting the screen to black instead of white?

What You Can Do NOW.

So what do we do while we’re waiting for the corporate IT guru’s to make our screens more environmentally friendly? We can begin changing our own expectations. As with anything habit forming, we’re best off starting small. Several alternative Google search pages use Google’s search technology on a dark screen. Personalized search site, Blacklys.com, even offers a Firefox search add-on.

Social Networking sites now offer the ability change your preferences; why not change your color scheme? Sites like Twitter and MySpace, and Facebook actually encourage customization.

These are little things when we compare our impact to that of Google, but little things add up. The only way to save the energy, the money, and the environmental impact, is if we each make the choice.

Alternative Google search sites:

[via ecoIron blog]

  1. Darkoogle, uses a black background with green text.
  2. Earthle
  3. GreenerGle
  4. Greygle, uses a grey background.
  5. Google Black, is a website hosted by the Google-owned blogspot, however the search results are not in black.
  6. Jabago, uses a black background and allows for searching in many languages.
  7. Ninja
  8. Power Google
  9. Searchincolor.com, an older site that supports Google colored searches since its onset. The default color is black.
  10. Trek Black

Next Actions:

34 thoughts on “Black is the New Green: 10 Energy Saving Search Sites

  1. Pingback: Black Is The New Green « Matt’s Cuppa

  2. But it doesn’t save energy on LCD monitors….

    However from Darkoogle’s homepage it says “Darkoogle is to remind us all to save energy in our daily life.”

    I like the idea of seeing a black background will remind us to save energy in our daily life.

    As least will remind me to turn my lights off….

  3. Is this saving energy on CRTs because when a pixel is black, the CRT beam is turned down in intensity (or off)? It’s a very small current but at a very large voltage (kV) … power = V*A. So maybe?

    Has anybody actually tested this? They have these devices which plug into a wall socket and measure how much power an appliance uses. This would be easy to do (and you could also use it to see which other devices are power-hogs). You can get one here:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93519

  4. Is this saving energy on CRTs because when a pixel is black, the CRT beam is turned down in intensity (or off)? It’s a very small current but at a very large voltage (kV) … power = V*A. So maybe?

    Has anybody actually tested this? They have these devices which plug into a wall socket and measure how much power an appliance uses. This would be easy to do (and you could also use it to see which other devices are power-hogs). You can get one here:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93519

  5. I have thought this was pretty interesting, but wondered how they tested it all out. And what about LCD screens and such, does it save for them too, or just CRT?

    At any rate, a small change is a good idea if it really makes a difference.

  6. This isn’t really useful for LCDs, and I’d think that you’d save far more power with a CRT by turning it off overnight instead of letting it turn itself off into standby mode (which still uses some power).

    12-16 hours of being OFF instead of in STANDBY (and this applies to LCDs too) would make far more of a difference, and wouldn’t require such drastic changes to web design and public perceptions.

    So, when you leave work at the end of a day, or hit the sack at the end of the night, turn your monitor OFF instead of letting it time out into standby. That’ll make more of a difference than all this black website silliness :)

  7. That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. For an LCD display, the bulk of the energy is consumed by the backlight, which is on all the time regardless. The way to save power is to turn down the brightness (which I do when running my notebook off batteries, to save power!).

    For an old CRT, sure, you might save a *tiny* bit of energy that way. But you’ll save a heck of a lot more power by switching to an LCD screen. Or by using compact fluorescent light bulbs around the house.

    Black on white is simply more readable; that is why it is used. Notice that *this* site is black on white.

  8. This is the dumbest idea in the world. Black sites are very difficult to read. Does anyone understand usability. When I go to a site with dark colors and close the page it takes me a few seconds for my eyes to adjust back to normal. That extra time between each page uses up energy in itself.

    Since LCD do not show any difference and in fact someone said its the opposite I hope this idea dies a quick death. If I ever see another black background site I will scream.

    On a LCD the back light is always on. The extra energy is in getting the screen to twist the LCD pixel to block the light. That takes energy while white doesn’t.

  9. “But it doesn’t save energy on LCD monitors….

    However from Darkoogle’s homepage it says “Darkoogle is to remind us all to save energy in our daily life.”

    I like the idea of seeing a black background will remind us to save energy in our daily life.

    As least will remind me to turn my lights off….”

    Agree

  10. This has got to be the dumbest “green” idea I’ve heard yet. The color being displayed has no effect on the power consumed.

    You’d save more power by unplugging the front power and HDD activity light on your case than only viewing sites with black backgrounds.

  11. I think this is very interesting, although I am not sure how true this could be…

    21C, maybe you should change your screen to black?
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts, I enjoy reading them!

  12. Black is depressing when used as the predominant color. We’re not all emo kids or goth people. I’m not going to go on Prozac just so I can save a little energy.

    What the others are saying is also true. If you’re advocating this stuff, why don’t you turn your own site black? :-)

  13. Hi 21c: well, if you talk the talk, you should also walk the walk – it just takes a few lines of CSS to change your background color, too. Btw, my XML Aficionado blog has always had a black background – howeve, that is admittedly mostly for aesthetics reasons.

    At the end of the day, the power consumption argument is more valid for old CRT tubes (who uses those anymore!) than for LCDs, and especially on laptops the difference in color is irelevant – the brightness of the backlight is what deterines power consumption.

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  20. I work for a company that is active in green technologies and we just tested this claim using a “Kill A Watt” device which measures wattage consumption at the outlet level. We plugged it to my LG L1710S LCD Screen and found these claims (unfortunately) to be untrue, atleast using this common display. In fact White Google was the “greenest”.

    The results were:
    White Google – 23W
    Black search pages – 24W

    We repeated the test over and over, with the same result.
    Strange but true.

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