As climate change concerns continue to increase, it is becoming mandatory to minimize carbon emissions and adopt sustainable practices to save the planet. The Information Technology field has the potential to cut carbon emissions and contribute to alleviating the current climate crisis. Since software plays a significant role in energy consumption, software engineers are going green and adopting sustainable ways of developing technologies with minimal negative environmental impact using closed and open-source databases.
Here is everything you need to know about sustainable software development and tips for building efficient and eco-friendly green software.
What is Sustainable Software Development?
Sustainable software development (also known as sustainable software engineering) is an approach that focuses on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in all stages of software development, starting from software design to implementation and software development. It aims to minimize the adverse effects of applications and hosting infrastructure on the environment. Besides helping save the planet, sustainable software development is excellent for businesses as it reduces overall costs and osts the business’s bottom line.
Tips for Creating Green Software
Just like computer hardware, software can cause environmental harm. It affects hardware’s energy consumption by influencing its operations and impacting carbon emissions. On the same note, the software development process can be highly energy-intensive, which calls for optimization of energy consumption when creating and using the software.
Below are a few tips for developing green/sustainable software without compromising functionality.
1. Reduce Data Usage
More data necessary to run an application means more energy for recalling, accessing, and storing data. To realize sustainability, minimize the data to be exchanged and place expiration data on stored data. Creating a streamlined cache policy reduces the data needed and retained in the background. Similarly, use smaller images and media whenever possible as they require less energy to maintain than larger media forms with higher resolutions.
2. Select Ideal Coding Language
According to a 2018 study, the type of coding language used to write software can affect the software’s energy usage in development. The programming language dictates how fast a program responds and how much memory it needs to carry out tasks or recall information. The two factors can impact the amount of energy necessary to run the program, influencing carbon emissions.
While the research has unclear findings, you need to be up to date with recent studies in this field to understand better whether creating software with a specific language can lower the software’s environmental impact.
3. Remove Unused Features and Loops
Unused features litter the software, make it more challenging to use, and utilizes unnecessary energy, lowering the software’s lifespan. Removing these features improves energy efficiency and makes the software useful for longer.
Developers should also look for loops that eat up energy without achieving specific goals successfully. For example, a dead website link that tries to reach a site no longer accessible causes energy waste. Removing unnecessary loops reduces the amount of energy the software draws and makes the program process more efficient.
4. Monitor Software Energy Usage
Tracking the software’s energy consumption in real-time allows you to identify areas you can optimize to lower energy consumption and produce fewer emissions. You can be more specific, monitor energy usage of particular tasks and applications, and adjust for sustainability accordingly. By monitoring and charting energy consumption, you can measure the progress of your efforts and energy efficiency as you improve your designs.
The first step towards sustainable software development is prioritizing energy efficiency alongside software functionality, scalability, security, and accessibility during development. With the above information and an open source database, software engineers can make a difference by building green software which provides businesses with a competitive advantage while promoting environmental sustainability.