In recent years, deep learning has become widespread for various real-world recognition tasks. In addition to recognition accuracy, energy efficiency is another grand challenge to enable local intelligence in edge devices. In this paper, we investigate the adoption of monolithic 3D IC (M3D) technology for deep learning hardware design, using speech recognition as a test vehicle. M3D has recently proven to be one of the leading contenders to address the power, performance and area (PPA) scaling challenges in advanced technology nodes. Our study encompasses the influence of key parameters in DNN hardware implementations towards energy efficiency, including DNN architectural choices, underlying workloads, and tier partitioning choices in M3D. Our post-layout M3D designs, together with hardware-efficient sparse algorithms, produce power savings beyond what can be achieved using conventional 2D ICs. Experimental results show that M3D offers 22.3% iso-performance power saving, convincingly demonstrating its entitlement as a solution for DNN ASICs. We further present architectural guidelines for M3D DNNs to maximize the power saving.