The debate over Blackle vs Google power consumption led me to carry out what I consider to be the largest series of tests on LCD monitors so far with 23 LCD monitors giving incredible useful test results that go well beyond the original debate.

One of the things I found was just how much of a difference the backlight makes to the overall power consumption.

Using our AC power meter, I ran three LCD monitors at both 0% and 100% brightness levels according to their on screen controls. The three monitors were 22-inch Chimei CMV 221H, the Philips 22-inch 220WS8FB and the 19-inch LG W192WS.

I’ve tabulated the results below and from these, you can see that the power consumption range is nearly 3:1 in some cases.

Now we’re not talking about running LCD monitors right down to 0%, although even at that level, LCD monitors still pump out reasonable amounts of light. In practice, I found that on average, by dropping the brightness level from the typical 100% level down to around 65-75%, it is possible to drop the power consumption by around 10-watts.

Over a 12-hour day, that’s 120-watt-hours. Multiply that by the millions of LCD monitors in worldwide use and you’re talking serious power consumption reductions.

Market analysts DisplaySearch recently announced in June 2008 that worldwide shipments of LCD monitors reached 36.6million for the first quarter of 2007.

If each of those saved 120-watt-hours a day, you’re looking at 38.47million mega-watt-hours of every saved.

All by just dropping the screen brightness from 100% to 70%.

Many LCD monitors are shipped with their screen brightness at 100% to give a brighter image but you can easily get away with a 70% brightness level. If you have an LCD monitor, try it yourself and see the brightness difference.

If you can live with it, you’re likely to be saving around 10-watts in power consumption – at the very least, it’ll help shave a bit off your next power bill.

Monitor Size Power consumption at 100% brightness Power consumption at 0% brightness
LG L192WS 19-inch 32.4W 15.1W
Chimei CMV 221H 22-inch 41.5W 14.2W
Philips 220WS8FP 22-inch 42.7W 17.5W

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