Can we save energy through Blackle?

So today I came across the site Blackle -which is basically a black version of Google. Black as in the background is black rather than white. The reasoning for this is found on their about page which states, among other things:

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. “Image displayed is primarily a function of the user’s color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen.” Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

So how should we react to things like this? Sure there is a minor saving and Yes a minor saving is not to be ignored. But (you knew that was coming didn’t you?) what is the point of the average wasteful consumer ignoring all other advice and then changing from Google to Blackle?

Taken on a larger level what is the point of minor energy conservation schemes in relation to the damage we are doing? Don’t get me wrong I truely believe in the importance of the accumalitve effect of small savings but in relation to energy and the environment I get the impression we are sometimes creating false feelings of contributing.

What do I mean? Well if the average (whatever that means) wasteful person feels like they are making a contribution to the environment by switching to a black start or search page then the net result saving is infinitesimal BUT the feelgood effect in the wasteful person will allow them to continue with the otherwise wasteful lifestyles and still claim to care and to contribute.

Or maybe I just a Monday morning cynic and this is an important step in awareness and energy savings…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.