Don’t adjust your LCD; there is nothing wrong with your desktop computer (except maybe that it is drawing power from a non-renewable energy source).
Google today turned all the white pixels black on its main homepage as “a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour.” Details of Google’s involvement in this effort can be found at Google’s Earth Hour page.
To me, this gesture smacks just a little bit of Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth. Google is expending effort to publicize and promote the need for energy conservation, but the promotional effort itself does nothing to improve sustainability. See “Gore Wins Global Warming Nobel, Invents the Internet, and Cures Cancer” for the analogous global warming argument. Google could have, for example, made this promotional effort much more meaningful by purchasing all their power from renewable energy providers for the duration on the time their home page was black.
Nonetheless, Google is among the greenest companies in the world. They recently installed a massive 1.6 MW solar array at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA that offsets 30% of the company’s peak electricity demand. So, I cannot really fault them on the renewable energy front.
Plus, it turns out that changing Google’s white pixels to black may actually have some positive environmental impact. On “Black Pixels Cost Less?” a blogger reports some measurements that suggest, at least for CRT monitors, that black pixels pull less power than white pixels (although, as illuminated in the blog comments, these measurements may be incorrect). A further extension of this discussion can be found at “Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year”. In fact, there is a Web site, Blackle.com, that provides a custom Google search but always with a black background to exploit the alleged conservation benefits of black pixels. As of this post, Blackle.com claims to have saved 535,474.135 Watt hours.