Saving Energy With Your Computer
I don’t know if any of you noticed or not, but for one day back in October (2007), Google changed their homepage from a white background to a pitch black background. It was only shown for those accessing Google from San Francisco, CA, but it started quite a stir. Many thought Google was working to save energy, but according to Google themselves, that was not the case. They later announced that going black was done to support the “Lights Out San Francisco” promotion and to convince everyone in San Francisco to flip off all their lights for at least one hour in October. Rather interesting, huh?!
Now, you’re probably wondering how changing the background of a Web site from white to black can save energy, right? Well, some computer monitors (about 25 percent of the monitors in the world) still contain a cathode ray tube, which uses about 75 watts to display a Web page that is entirely white. The cathode ray tube (sometimes called the CRT) is a type of monitor that uses a vacuum tube to produce images by shooting an electron beam at a phosphorescent surface. Do you remember the “picture tube” on the television receiver? The CRT in a computer monitor is very similar to the “picture tube” that used to appear on televisions.
On the other hand, the CRT type of monitor only uses 60 watts to display a Web page that is completely black. When thinking about that, we then have to take a look at the number of hits the Google homepage receives everyday, which is about 200 million. Therefore, about 50 million hits per day are being accessed by users who have cathode ray tube monitors, which many believe is a large amount of energy going to waste. In response, several people and organizations have created all black background search engines, such as Blackle.com and BlackWebSearch.com, which still use Google’s engine to search the Internet.
Along with maybe switching to those search engines, there are several other ways you can save energy when using your computer. Here are a few:
- Turn off your computer and the monitor when you are not using them for long periods of time.
- Turn down the brightness of your monitor.
- When shopping for a new computer, look for the words of “EnergyStar 4.0 Compliant.”
- Configure your computer to turn off after about 20 minutes of non-use.
- Though screensavers are cool to watch, they don’t save energy. Instead, they use more graphics, which in turn, uses more energy. If you can, choose a wallpaper design you could be happy seeing at all times.
- When buying a new monitor, look at flat panel screens. They use about half the energy of a normal monitor.
Saving energy with your computer will not only save you money on your energy bill, but it will also help out the environment in a small way. However, when thousands of people take small steps to save energy, we can all make a difference together. Start doing your part today!
~ Jack William