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What is Green Coding?
Blog...What is Green Coding?

What is Green Coding?

Ecology News
laptop with coding open on bench
In this article, we’ll explain what green coding is, the benefits of using green coding, how it could help boost sustainability, and how to transition to the use of green coding.
Ecology News
laptop with coding open on bench

You’ve heard of green living, but have you ever heard of green coding?

Technology is one of the most impressive and convenient creations to date, but it also poses a threat to a challenge we have yet to overcome – climate change. 

Luckily, part of the answer to reducing the environmental impact created by software systems may be for companies and their IT departments to implement the use of green coding.

In this article, we’ll explain what green coding is, the benefits of using green coding, how it could help boost sustainability, and how to transition to the use of green coding.

What is the meaning of green coding?

Green coding, also sometimes referred to as green programming, refers to the set of practices employed to create new programs in software development that use less amounts of energy.

Think of green coding as being similar to green living or other “green” practices – it is an effort to reduce the environmental impact created on behalf of technology and software, both of which are important seeing as technology alone is currently responsible for 4% of global GHG emissions.
what is green coding?

Essentially, green coding works to reduce its environmental impact by rewriting a programming code to reduce the energy consumption of a certain software – such as when using iMovie, Logic Pro X, or Microsoft Word. 

When seeing to implement green coding, there are two important factors to consider:

  1. Structural Changes – This refers to the actual units of code, and the potential energy that certain sets of code may use. In addition to this, structural changes can refer to improving overall efficiency in IT and improving cloud-based infrastructure.
  2. Circumstantial & Cultural Changes – This refers to the potential various scenarios in which the coding could have an impact on the energy consumed by the user – such as the difference between uploading a video to YouTube or sending an email. Also, cultural changes may refer to making sure that all management and employees are aware of the changes green coding may bring.

👉 Green coding is one of the most logical ways we could reduce the environmental impact created by technology and software without needing to go cold turkey on these programs or devices.

people looking at desktop together at office desk

Why is green coding important?

Green coding is important seeing as technology is behind almost everything we do in our everyday lives, from paying with an iPad at a cash register or turning on the TV to watch the news.

As software continues to demonstrate its contribution to unprecedented levels of greenhouse gas emissions, green coding will become more and more imperative to make our habitual use of technology more sustainable – as the world isn’t going to stop using software or technology altogether.

💡 Remember, green coding can be used for more than improved energy efficiency in software – but to help encourage greater sustainable software development elsewhere. 

For instance, if Apple resigns its iCloud system with green coding – it can further help to reduce their overall emissions and make their other products more appealing to consumers concerned about climate change. Therefore, an example of green coding can include seeking the use of renewable energy to power data storage centers. 

Additional benefits of companies who opt to use green coding include:

  • Reduce Utility Bills – Companies with data storage centers are bound to benefit from reduced electricity bills when implementing the use of green coding.
  • Attract New Customers & Investors – Companies brave enough to be cutting-edge and make green coding the new norm could intrigue new customers and investors in their software programs or other products and services.
  • Increased Resilience to Climate Risks – Especially important when trying to engage with your stakeholders, green coding could help companies to avoid several climate risks – such as issues with their supply chain or managing their infrastructure.

👉 Overall, green coding is important because it can allow companies to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while still intriguing new customers and stakeholders and improving their brand reputation.

laptop half closed in dark

What are the main pillars of green coding?

Green coding functions on a few main principles, including working towards greener logic, greener methodology, and an overall greener platform.

The main goal of green coding is to reduce the carbon impact created by software, and ultimately, – to encourager “greener” changes elsewhere.

Here are some of the main pillars of green coding:

  • Green Architecture – One of the main pillars of green coding is green architecture, which refers to the process of optimizing an application for energy use. This adheres to the structural principle of green coding, where the actual units of code can be changed to optimize energy efficiency. In the end, the goal of green architecture in green coding is to reduce the amount of work and energy the hardware hosting the software must usually exert. This could include new coding for automatic shut downs, screensavers, or low power mode to help reduce energy consumption.
  • Green Logic – This facet of green coding refers to the ideal that each decision can create a ripple effect for green coding and ultimate energy savings. Some of these decisions could include creating improved visuals for content to help improve user speed to save time and energy, striving for “zero-waste” codes by removing old codes that don’t work anymore, using smaller or simpler files to reduce the carbon footprint of additional resources to be used in green coding, and seeking to use web applications that reduce the loading time between the server and the user. 
  • Green Methodology – This pillar of green coding is focused on improving the process for software development, such as by encouraging swift feedback for quicker adjustments to reduce the carbon footprint created by software development. In addition to this, code that can be reused is encouraged in green coding. 
  • Green Platform – In a similar way to green architecture, it is important to make the platform your software’s green coding will be hosted on “greener” in order to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency. This could include seeking to alter the configurations for the platform or overlooking recent metrics to see how servers are handling the current supply and demand.

👉 While all programming languages are different from one another, green coding can often benefit from using coding language C as it is known to be one of the more energy efficient coding languages.  

laptop open to coding

How could green coding help boost sustainability?

Green coding could do wonders for various sustainability projects, such as by helping companies to reduce energy consumption and even increase their business revenue. 

As technology advances and becomes more apparent in our everyday lives, green coding is imperative to help raise awareness regarding the importance of sustainable efforts.

Some of the ways that green coding could help to boost sustainability include:

  • Reduced Energy Costs – Green coding strives to make do with less coding, and as a result – it can also help companies to slash their utility bills and reduce their carbon footprint. 
  • Work Towards Other Sustainability Goals – Indirectly, green coding could help companies to work towards their other goals such as working towards net-zero emissions or inspiring sustainable initiatives elsewhere within the company.
  • Increased Revenue – A study conducted by IBM in 2022 reveals that companies who work to implement sustainable initiatives, such as green coding, often report an increase in operating margin. As a result, this financial benefit could help companies to fund future sustainable efforts that would not have been possible if the initial sustainable efforts, such as green coding, were not implemented. 
  • Improved Coding Practices – Green coding encourages programmers to simplify their process, which as a result – can save programmers time on their code writing and allow them to allocate time to think of new ideas to reduce energy consumption elsewhere in the IT department.

👉 Ultimately, green coding could help to invoke other sustainable efforts within an organization – and raise awareness regarding the importance of sustainability in software development and IT.

person coding on a laptop with desktop beside it

How can your company get started with green coding?

When it comes to implementing green coding, your company will have to develop a methodical check-list to ensure that all the pillars of green coding have been met throughout the implementation process.

Green coding can make a big difference for companies looking to reduce their energy consumption long-term, but seeing as green coding must be incorporated into several facets of a company’s business model – the process of implementing green coding must be handled strategically to prove successful in the long-term.

Here are some of the most important things to consider when trying to implement the use of green coding into your company:

  • Sleek Software Design – Green coding will require a makeover on your current coding, meaning that repetitive code and unnecessary loops should be erased to reduce energy consumption. Sometimes, this can prove challenging – so seeking to develop smarter software that can automatically end codes when they aren’t being used is a great way to adhere to the principles of green coding. 
  • Choose An Energy-Efficient Coding Programming Language – Studies show that language C is the most energy efficient programming language, but other energy efficient program languages include Rust, C++, Java, and Pascal.
  • Work Towards Consistent Improvements – Green programming isn’t as much a ramp up towards success as it is more like a spiral staircase. There is likely to be a series of trial-and-error until you find an approach to green coding most suitable for your company. Therefore, it’s important to remain open minded and rest different components of your green coding ideology to seek consistent improvement.
  • Determine the Future of Your Data & NetworksData storage centers are closely related to green coding, meaning it's important to determine new avenues for data usage and to improve certain processes such as caching to reduce energy consumption.
  • Be Open to New Ideas – Encouraging innovation and facilitating new collaborations are great ways to curate the most suitable green coding strategy for your company. This allows your company to compare and contrast successful tactics and possibly implement new energy-saving ideas. 
  • Stay Result Focused – Working to implement green coding can be a tedious process at times, meaning it’s especially important to remain goal-focused. At the end of the day, green coding can also help your company grow resilient to other challenges and be more prepared to face them! 

Overall, green coding is a great way to reduce the energy consumption of your software long-term – and it’s becoming especially important as technology continues to suffuse itself into our everyday lives.

What About Greenly?

If reading this article about green coding has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

At Greenly we can help you to assess your company’s carbon footprint, and then give you the tools you need to cut down on emissions. We offer a free demo for you to better understand our platform and all that it has to offer – including assistance with boosting supplier engagement, personalized assistance, and new ways to involve your employees.

Click here to learn more about Greenly and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

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