Smashing green tech myths

Environmentally friendly or snake oil? Here are five of the biggest green technology truisms

We’re living in something of a post-truth age. Things are stated as fact, with little or no evidence to back them up. Claims about products and technologies are made without being challenged. And few areas are subject to the pulping of the truth more than so-called green technology.

Innovations, ideas and schemes arrive that are meant to make the planet greener. But when you start chipping away at the veneer of these claims or truisms, there’s often little to back them up.

Here, I’m going to investigate five common claims about “green” technology to see if there is any truth behind them and whether you’re doing any good for the environment by adhering to them – or whether you’re simply being hoodwinked.

Dark mode saves battery life

Dark mode is currently de rigueurAndroidiOSWindows and macOS all now have their own dark modes, turning the background to menus and apps to a dark shade of charcoal.

Dark mode reportedly has two plus points. The first is a health benefit: dark mode spares your eyes from the strain of looking at a bright screen, reducing the so-called blue light that can keep you awake at night. That said, hard medical evidence that darker screens reduce eye strain or improve sleep is difficult to find.

The other benefit is that dimming the screen with dark backgrounds puts less strain on the device’s battery, meaning your smartphone, tablet or laptop should last for longer between charges. While that may sound perfectly logical, it’s not necessarily true.

Dark mode’s ability to preserve battery life depends on the type of screen your device uses. LCD screens light all their pixels from the edges, so it makes no difference in terms of battery life whether your phone is showing an all-white image or an all-black one.

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