Software is a crucial element to the development of intelligent solutions. At the same time, the development of software is also tied to our growing carbon footprint. The utilization of digital technologies sounds like it would help to eliminate a company’s carbon footprint; however, many of the environmental problems digital technologies have attempted to solve, in recent years, have actually been made worse.
More specifically, the development process of these software consumes massive amounts of energy and can emit harmful discharges.
So how can companies develop green software? They can follow a 3-part process.
Develop a strategy that sets boundaries—while allowing flexibility
Allowing for flexibility will permit IT teams to find the right tolerance for the environmental effects of their software. Typically, trade-offs between business and environmental goals are required when developing software; thus, being flexible will make the process easier.
It’s also important to remember that green software is still relatively new to the scene (it’s most often used in academic settings); therefore, there really aren’t many guidebooks for its production.
Pay attention to the software development life cycle
If your goal is to produce a green software, you must first start in the planning stage. It is useful to begin the project by questioning what the smallest eco footprint you can make is. Be aware that your expectation is likely to change as you gain knowledge on how to develop green software.
You could focus on the algorithms, APIs, libraries and programming languages that will minimize carbon emissions. Additionally, you can constantly assess whether there are any alternatives that may make the process more efficient.
In the developmental stage, you also have resources at your disposal. There are companies, like Intel, that are increasingly offering more developer tools that are capable of managing energy consumption. For example, Intel’s Software Development Assistant allows for the collection of system energy measurements while executing workloads. This not only provides engineers with data, but it also makes the process more efficient.
Making the cloud green too
In recent years, there has been a big push to make modern applications deployable via the cloud. This cloud growth has come with a drawback: a need for power-intensive data centers. This kind of data center can consume nearly 2 percent of the global electricity and it’s thought that this percentage could increase to 8 percent by 2030.
To combat the byproducts of these data centers, many have begun to place a focus on optimizing their hardware as well as working to reduce their carbon emissions. Optimization of hardware can be done by keeping their servers from overheating and carbon emissions can be reduced by changing the way they’re powered, specifically increasing the utilization of renewable energies.