Climate change has been and continues to be a hot topic. We should all take some responsibility when it comes to looking after our environment, no matter if we’re at home or at work. Even the smallest of actions like sending a tweet or uploading a new post to Instagram all have an impact on our environment.

The tech industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its carbon emissions. The tech sector, as a whole, is responsible for 2 to 3 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But what can be done to combat the battle?

One of the conscious changes that tech companies can make is to perform green coding.

What is green coding?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that your code is shown in green.

Green coding aims to create software with a reduced carbon intensity - meaning that greenhouse gas emissions will also be reduced.

More and more businesses are starting to look at the environmental impact of their software, to be able to reduce their carbon footprint and become more committed to sustainable practices.

Software doesn’t necessarily consume energy directly, but it directs and influences hardware operations. This in turn then impacts the hardware’s energy consumption indirectly and hence produces carbon emissions - with 4% of all CO₂ emissions coming from global data transfer and infrastructure.

What does this mean for software developers?

Software developers carry out many daily tasks, one of which is coding. Developers should be more mindful of the code that they write, but this can prove to be a challenging task. Why? Writing greener code will require a change in mindset for developers as well as the need to follow different guidelines and use different tools to measure the energy output of hardware.

Here are some ways to carry out green software engineering ⬇️

  • Programming languages can play a big part in the energy consumption of a computer. A research study carried out by different Portuguese Universities concluded that the “greenest” and most efficient languages are C, C+, Rust, and Java.
  • Start to monitor real-time energy consumption of applications - not just on a weekly or monthly basis, but daily. This way you can gather information on when energy spikes occur and work towards reducing them, which also helps to reduce the number of emissions produced by hardware.
  • File size-types should nearly always be reduced - priority is key. Web developers should keep in mind that smaller file sizes can still achieve the same goal as a high-quality file but it also reduces the loading time.

There are many more ways the tech industry can adapt its working behaviours to reduce energy consumption and become a greener work environment. Software development plays a huge part in creating a more sustainable environment, so changing to green coding is more of a necessity than an option.

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