What is green coding?
Green coding is a term that has lately gained popularity due to its environmental aims, and it refers to energy-efficient hardware usage and programming code that is created to produce algorithms with minimal energy usage.
In an era of climate change and rising pollution, it is more crucial than ever to reduce our ecological impact and live more sustainably. This also applies to software development, which often requires a significant amount of energy and resources. Software companies can not only contribute to environmental protection by using green coding, but they can also lower their energy costs and boost their reputation as an ecologically responsible organisation.
Computing’s high energy consumption
Annual energy use at data centres has more than doubled in the last decade, according to the Association for Computing Machinery. Computing and information technology now account for between 1.8% and 3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
To completely comprehend how green coding might minimise energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, it is necessary to first examine software’s energy consumption:
- Processing: As it runs, software consumes energy. The more complex the software or the larger the file, the longer it takes to process and the more energy it consumes.
- DevOps: Developers often create lines of code that are parsed and processed by a device during the coding process. The device requires energy, which produces carbon emissions unless powered entirely by renewable energy. The more code the device must process, the more energy it consumes and the higher the level of emissions.
- Infrastructure: Physical hardware, networks, and other components of an IT system all require power for operation. There are certainly locations inside any organisation where the computing infrastructure is overly complex or over-provisioned, resulting in inefficient energy use.
Making more environmentally friendly software
Green coding starts with the same concepts as traditional coding. Software engineers can incorporate less energy-intensive coding principles into their DevOps lifecycle to lower the amount of energy required to process code.
lean coding technique focuses on utilising as little processing as possible to provide a completed application. Website developers, for example, can prioritize file size reducing (e.g., responsive images). This not only speeds up page loading times but also enhances user experience.
Lean coding also aims to reduce code bloat, a term used to refer to the production of program code that is perceived as unnecessarily long, slow, or otherwise wasteful of resources. It is not uncommon for software engineers to take entire libraries to perform just one task, e.g. calculate the day before, and the entire library may be e.g. 0.5 MB in size. You need one solution, but the entire library needs to be processed by the computer. This redundant code consumes additional processing power and contributes to increased carbon emissions.
Benefits of green coding
Aside from energy savings, businesses may discover additional benefits to green coding practises, such as the following:
- Improved development discipline: Green coding empowers engineers to simplify complex infrastructures and, as a result, save time by reducing the amount of code software engineers produce.
- Low resource consumption: Green software consumes fewer resources and less energy due to its higher simplicity and better performance, making it more cost-effective.
- Simpler architecture: Sustainable applications typically have fewer interdependencies, implying that their functioning is more straightforward and energy-efficient. Additionally, simpler software is likely to be faster.
- Boosting your brand: Nowadays, the reputation of your brand is just as crucial as its performance. Social responsibility and environmental awareness are clear advantages for your company, boosting user and client loyalty.
Green coding and SiteLint
When applications consume only what is required to fulfil their functions, you can boost utilization, reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, and achieve continuous efficiency.
At SiteLint we have basic ideas that are included in our development process to make our software more sustainable and efficient. These ideas include optimising algorithms and data structures, employing energy-efficient hardware, decreasing network traffic, and optimising power consumption.