An international clean energy coalition is searching for the world's most energy-efficient appliances, and has launched a contest to find the top energy-saving computer monitors as part of an effort to drive down electricity usage.

The contest, sponsored by US Energy Department and other governments, will name winners from four different regions: Australia, Europe, India and North America, as well as overall international winners in each size category.

Desktop computer monitors annually use about 30 to 40 terawatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to about 10 mid-sized coal fired power plants, organizers said.

Steve Pantano, an administrator for the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative, said the effort allows companies to show their commitment to innovative technology while saving consumers money and helping the environment.

"There's a tremendous opportunity for everyone to benefit," Pantano said. "From a manufacturing standpoint, there's evidence that energy efficiency sells."

The initiative is a part of the Clean Energy Ministerial, a global forum launched by the US Energy Department and other governments in July 2010 to promote clean energy technology.

Previous efforts included a drive in 2012 to identify the most energy-efficient flat-panel televisions, a title claimed by models from Samsung and LG Electronics.

With Secretary Steven Chu at the helm, the US Energy Department has made advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency a top priority, as part of efforts to address climate change and boost the economy.

Instead of setting minimum standards that products must meet, the competition will recognize the top power-saving computer monitors in three different size categories.

Reuters