Energy Saving Computer Monitors

The dominance of cathode-ray tube monitors, with their deep cabinets, high-energy demands and heat exhaust, went by the wayside with the end of the 20th century. Increased energy efficiency marks the performance of most of today's computer components and peripherals, monitors included. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency applies the ENERGY STAR® label to displays that meet its standards, which continue to become more stringent as display technologies evolve.

On Target

To earn the ENERGY STAR qualification that attests to proven energy-efficient performance, a computer monitor must meet specific power-consumption targets while it operates. The wattage allowed for a display in active use varies depending on the diagonal measurement of the screen and the number of pixels per square inch in the display panel itself. The larger the monitor and the higher its pixel density, the more energy it can consume. Additional specifications allow more power usage for a display with a high contrast ratio, pixel density and color gamut, which define an enhanced-performance monitor.

Sleep Tight

Energy efficiency demands the use of sleep modes after a monitor remains idle for a specific amount of time: 30 minutes, according to ENERGY STAR recommendations. When your monitor enters sleep mode, it blacks out. If you press a key on your keyboard or move the computer's pointing device, the monitor wakes up and reenters active power mode. To comply with ENERGY STAR requirements, monitors can use no more than 0.5 watts plus additional power allotments determined by the types of USB and network connections they offer, among other capabilities.

Shut Down

Standby power mode supplies a trickle of electricity to a monitor while it remains turned off, enabling it to respond quickly when you press its power button or start up a computer to which you've attached the monitor. Although standby modes can offer useful features, they do so at the literal cost of energy use. ENERGY STAR certification demands specific usage limits for monitors while they're turned off, set at 0.5 watts in the version of the specifications that went into effect on June 1, 2013.

LED to Perform

LED monitors comprise the majority of current ENERGY STAR–qualified displays, which use an average of 25 percent less electricity than other monitors. Instead of a fluorescent backlight, which requires warm-up time before it reaches full brightness, an LED screen uses solid-state light emitting diodes for illumination. This technology requires less circuitry to operate than fluorescent backlighting, which lowers monitor electrical requirements, produces less byproduct heat and increases the lifespan of the monitor.

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