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In terms of overall energy use, the typical home computer setup is a moderate power drain. It might average about 400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, which translates to about $35 in electricity costs and 530 pounds (240 kilograms) of carbon-dioxide emissions [sources: Energy Savers, PlanetGreen]. This is roughly how much a clothes washer uses, 20 times what a DVD player uses and less than a tenth of what a water heater consumes [source: Energy Savers]. It's a middle-of-the road consumer.
So why all the fuss about energy efficiency in computer monitors? It's mostly because the monitor accounts for more than 50 percent of a computer's energy consumption [source: ACEEE]. When it's in use, it tops the CPU by about 25 percent [source: Energy Savers]. Which brings us to the second reason for monitor-efficiency focus: Even when it's not in use, which is more often than not, it keeps on drawing power. As long as the monitor is turned on, it's sucking up a significant number of watts.
That's perhaps the biggest difference between an energy-sucking monitor and Energy Star-certified, higher-efficiency monitor. An Energy Star monitor draws a lot less power during "sleep" and "off" modes, and the energy-saving sleep mode kicks in automatically after a certain period of inactivity.
One of the easiest ways to cut your monitor's electricity consumption is to upgrade to an Energy Star monitor. But there are thousands of models to choose from, and they've all got energy-saving features. So, how do you pick the best one?
In this article, we'll look at the five top-rated energy-saving monitors. (Unless otherwise noted, all energy-consumption values in this article have been determined by Energy Star. Manufacturer energy statistics may vary depending on whether they use typical, average or maximum number of watts.)
First up, a massive monitor for professionals (and those who just love great displays).