black is the new green at TDM

Thinking of going Green? TDM is.

Is Black the New Green?

We have been doing our research to find out, 'Is Black the New Green?' and it has been reported that using a black background for your website does actually reduce the user's energy consumption while visiting that page.

In our research, we discovered a discrepancy in this report; namely, a blog written by Google stating that in-depth research has proven that darker backgrounds do not save at all on energy and may in fact increase the amount of energy used.

In an attempt to resolve these opposing positions, we decided to go right to the source—Energy Star. Our understanding was that black, and other similarly dark colors, would reduce energy usage on the premise that a black pixel is akin to a light bulb that is 'turned off,' and darker colors such as burgundy or navy blue being akin to the dim setting on a switch. A dim light or lower wattage bulb uses less electricity right?

In speaking with the kind and knowledgeable staff at Energy Star, we were referred to an online requirements page that must be adhered to if a computer manufacturer wishes to label their monitor Energy Star.

This is what it says regarding LCD monitors, which according to Google are owned by over 75% of the population:

"For all Fixed Pixel displays (e.g., LCDs and others), test pattern (VESA FPDM Standard 2.0, A112-2F, SET01K) shall be displayed that provides eight shades of gray from full black (0 volts) to full white (0.7 volts).2 Input signal levels shall conform to VESA Video Signal Standard (VSIS), Version 1.0, Rev. 2.0, December 2002. With the brightness and contrast controls at maximum, the technician shall check that, at a minimum, the white and near white gray levels can be distinguished. If white and near white gray levels cannot be distinguished, then contrast shall be adjusted until they can be distinguished. The technician shall next display a test pattern (VESA FPDM Standard 2.0, A112-2H, L80) that provides a full white (0.7 volts) box that occupies 80% of the image. The technician shall then adjust the brightness control until the white area of the screen provides at least 175 candelas per square meter of luminance, measured according to VESA FPDM Standard 2.0, Section 302-1. [If computer monitor's maximum luminance is less than 175 candelas per square meter (e.g., 150), then technician shall use the maximum luminance (e.g., 150) and report the value to EPA with other required testing documentation. Similarly, if the computer monitor's minimum luminance is greater than 175 candelas per square meter (e.g., 200), then technician shall use the minimum luminance (e.g., 200) and report the value to EPA.]

2 Corresponding voltage values for digital-only interface monitors that correspond to the brightness of the image (0 to 0.7 volts) are:
0 volts (black) = a setting of 0
0.1 volts (darkest shade of gray analog) = 36 digital gray
0.7 volts (full white analog) = 255 digital gray

So there it is (in technical jargon, but significant nonetheless). It doesn't get any simpler than that. Although the difference between a black screen (0 Volts) and a white screen (0.7 Volts) is a seemingly insignificant 0.6 Volts, over time using a darker theme when designing your website is technically GREENER and will reduce your carbon footprint.

Every little bit counts!

For more information, or to do a more in depth analysis visit our reference at Energy Star, Page 9, section F.

References on 'Is Black the New Green'?: